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THE LOVE of the StdC^E D 



THE LOVE OF 
THE SACRED HEART 

A SERIES FOR SPECIAL 
SPIRITUAL READING 

I. 

THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART. 

Illustrated by St. MARGARET MARY and the 
Blessed JOHN EUDES. 

" A book of much value to Religious and others, and 
it is certainly calculated to promote devotion to the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus." Messenger of the Sacred 
Heart. 

" A valuable guide and stimulus to perfection through 
charity." Month. 

II. 

THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART. 

Illustrated by St. GERTRUDE. 
" An admirable work." Irish Independent. 
11 A welcome addition to the Catholic private devo 
tional library." Catholic Women s League Magazine. 

III. 

THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART. 

Illustrated by St. MECHTILDE. 



The Love of 
the Sacred Heart 



Illustrated by 
ST. MECHTILDE 

With a Foreword by the 
LORD BISHOP OF SALFORD 



LONDON 

Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd. 

28 ORCHARD STREET 8-10 PATERNOSTER ROW 

W. i E - c - 4 

AND . AT . MANCHESTER . BIRMINGHAM . AND . GLASGOW 
1922 



DEC -3 1952 



NIHIL OBSTAT : 

G. H. JOYCE, S.J. 

Censor Deputatus. 

IMPRIMATUR : 

EDM. CAN. SURMONT, 

Vicarius Gcneralis. 



WESTMONASTBRU, 

Die 6 Apr His t 1922. 



FOREWORD 

A,L lovers of the Sacred Heart were delighted to 
see in the year of grace 1920 the long wished for 
canonization of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque 
(1647-1690), whom God raised up in recent centuries 
to revive the fire of devotion to the divine Heart of our 
Lord, which had well-nigh been extinguished by the 
frost and drought of the Jansenist heresy. The devotion 
to the Sacred Heart is too often spoken of and thought 
of as a " modern " devotion, and in one sense it is such. 
The life-work of St. Margaret Mary has not only given 
that sweetest of devotions a much greater vogue and a 
deeper intensity throughout the world, but it has even 
in our own times led to still further and wider develop 
ments, such as the beautiful and providential practice, 
whose world-wide spread we owe to the blessing and 
encouragement of Pope Pius X I mean the Enthrone 
ment of the Sacred Heart in the home, which, thank God, 
is becoming yearly more popular in our own country. 
But the present book will show that in another sense the 
devotion is by no means "modern." As will be seen, 
the first part consists of copious translations from the 
marvellous mystical revelations of a lover of the Sacred 
Heart of a much earlier century, the Benedictine nun 
St. Mechtilde (1241-1298), whose enraptured utterances 
surpass in some respects those of her better known friend 



vi FOREWORD 

and disciple the great St. Gertrude, and whose signifi 
cance as the type of mystic theology has been immor 
talized by Dante in his mighty epic.* It will not fail 
to be observed how extraordinarily similar a great deal 
of the inspired language and profound imagery of the 
Saint of the thirteenth century is to that of the one who 
was canonized last year; although I am not aware that 
there is evidence of Margaret Mary having been a student 
of the works of her illustrious predecessor. It is surely 
both significant and instructive that our divine Lord 
deigned to make known the mysteries and treasures of 
the unfathomable abyss of His divine Love in a manner 
so similar, often identical, to two of His chosen spouses, 
at an interval of several centuries. The pious translator 
of the following treatises, however, very truly remarks 
that in the revelations of the earlier of these Saints, the 
mystic doctrines of the Sacred Heart are presented more 
especially for the guidance and edification of the chosen 
few, especially of the inmates of the cloister, called to 
the more hidden life. On the other hand, the cult of 
the Sacred Heart in these last three centuries has become, 
and is becoming daily more and more, the common 
property of all the children of the Church, of the laity 
as well as of the clergy and the religious, of the working 
man and woman as well as of the theologian, and even of 
the little children as well as of Christians of mature years. 
And that recent form of it to which I have alluded above 
the Enthronement in the home, whether the palace 
or the cottage has further widened it to become the 

* The Matelda of Purgatorio, xxxiii. 118. 



FOREWORD vii 

property and the privilege not merely of the individual 
soul, but of the whole Christian family. 

May every reader of these pages pray for her who in 
the midst of grave sickness and pain during her last 
illness compiled them out of her abounding love to the 
Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord. 

LOUIS CHARLES, 

Bishop vf Salford. 
OCTAVE OF THE EPIPHANY, 
1922 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

FOREWORD - - - - V 



INTRODUCTORY : THE REVELATIONS TO 
ST. MECHTILDE 

CHAPTER 

I. THE BOOK OF SPECIAL GRACE I 

II. LIFE OF ST. MECHTILDE 5 

in. ST. MECHTILDE S MISSION - 9 

THE SACRED HEART WHILE ON EARTH 

I. LOVE! THE REASON OF THE INCARNATION - 12 
II. LOVE ALWAYS LEADS TO JESUS - 15 

III. THE FOUR BEATINGS OF THE SACRED HEART - l6 

IV. THE SOLICITUDE OF THE SACRED HEART FOR 

THE SALVATION OF SOULS - IJ 

v. GOOD WORDS: WITNESSES OF THE LOVE OF THE 

SACRED HEART - - 19 

VI. THE TEARS OF OUR LORD - - 21 

VII. THE HEART OF JESUS AND THE WELL-BELOVED 

APOSTLE - 24 

ix 



x CONTENTS 

CHATTER PAGE 

VIII. THE EXCHANGES BETWEEN THE HEART OF JESUS 

AND OUR HEARTS - 26 

IX. HOW OUR LORD PIERCED MAGDALEN S HEART 

DURING THE PASSION - 28 

X. THE SACRED HEART AT THE TIME OF OUR 

LORD S DEATH - - - 32 

XI. THE GLORIFICATION OF THE SACRED HEART - 34 

XII. PRAISE AND SUPPLICATION : THE FIVE JOYS 

OF THE HEART OF JESUS IN HIS RESURREC 
TION - -38 

XIII. LOVE BROUGHT BACK THE SON OF GOD TO 

HEAVEN - 40 

THE DEALINGS OF THE SACRED HEART 
WITH MEN 

XIV. THE SACRED HEART MEDIATES BETWEEN GOD 

AND MAN - 42 

XV. IN WHAT MANNER THE SACRED HEART EXER 
CISES THE OFFICE OF MEDIATOR TOWARDS 

us - - 45 

XVI. THE SACRED HEART IS THE SOURCE OF THE 

DIVINE LIFE WHICH WE RECEIVE IN BAPTISM 49 

XVII. THE MEANS OF LEADING A CHRISTIAN LIFE 

MUST BE SOUGHT IN THE SACRED HEART - 53 

xvin. MARY S ASSISTANCE WITH THE SACRED HEART 55 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIX. THE CHURCH ENSHRINED IN THE SACRED 

HEART - "59 

XX. THE SACRED HEART AND SINNERS - 6l 

XXI. THE SACRED HEART A PERPETUAL VICTIM 62 

XXII. IN HEAVEN THE SACRED HEART IS STILL THE 

HEART OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD - 63 

XXIII. THE INVITATIONS GIVEN BY THE SACRED HEART 
TO THOSE WHO WISH TO DEVOTE THEM 
SELVES TO ITS SERVICE - - 66 

XXIV. WHAT THE SACRED HEART WISHES TO BE 

FOR US - 68 

XXV. THE SACRED HEART IS THE SOURCE OF FERVOUR JO 

XXVI. THE SACRED HEART AND ITS UNION WITH SOULS J2 

XXVII. CONSECRATED SOULS: THEIR VOCATION - 76 

XXVIII. THE TIME OF TRIAL - 78 

XXIX. TEPIDITY - 8O 

XXX. THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE - - 83 

XXXI. THE RENEWAL OF OUR FIRST FERVOUR - 86 

XXXII. THE SACRED HEART SHOULD BE THE ONLY 

TREASURE OF A RELIGIOUS - QO 

XXXIII. A RELIGIOUS BELOVED BY THE SACRED HEART IS 

A TREASURE IN A COMMUNITY - "93 

XXXIV. THE SACRED HEART AND THE PREACHERS OF 

THE GOSPEL - "95 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XXXV. THE SACRED HEART AND THOSE WHO SUFFER 96 

XXXVI. THE SACRED HEART WISHES TO CONSOLE THOSE 

WHO SUFFER - - - 98 



XXXVIII. THE SACRED HEART AND PURGATORY - IQJ 

XXXIX. THE SACRED HEART AND HEAVEN - - 113 

XL. OUR DUTY TOWARDS THE SACRED HEART: 

DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART - 115 

XLI. THE ADORATION OF THE SACRED HEART - 117 

XLII. THE OFFERING OF OUR HEARTS - - 119 

XLIII. THE OUTPOURINGS OF THE HEART - - 122 

XLIV. REPARATION FOR SIN - 125 

XLV. THANKSGIVING - 129 

XLVI. CONFIDENCE - 13! 

XLVII. ORDINARY ACTIONS DONE IN UNION WITH THE 

SACRED HEART - - 134 

XLVIII. DIVINE PRAISE - - 138 

XLIX. THE SACRED HEART ITSELF TRAINS MECHTILDE 

IN DIVINE PRAISE - - 14! 

L. THE INTENTIONS OF THE HEART OF JESUS IN 

DIVINE PRAISE - - 144 

LI. THE SACRED HEART AND CONFESSION - 146 

LII. ON PURITY OF CONSCIENCE - - 15! 

LIII. THE SACRED HEART AND HOLY MASS - 154 



CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER pAGE 

LIV. INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION - 159 
LV. PREPARATION FOR HOLY COMMUNION - l6l 
LVI. THE FIVE HAIL MARYS BEFORE HOLY COM 
MUNION - ift* 

LVII. OF DRYNESS IN RECEIVING HOLY COM 
MUNION - jgr 

LVIII. THE FRUIT OF HOLY COMMUNION - - l6/ 



The 

Love of the Sacred Heart 

The Archives of the Devotion to the Sacred 

Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate 

Heart of Mary 

INTRODUCTORY 
THE REVELATIONS TO ST. MECHTILDE 

CHAPTER I 
" THE BOOK OF SPECIAL GRACE 

THE Revelations of St. Mechtilde are contained in 
a book entitled The Book of Special Grace. This 
book was written almost entirely without her 
knowledge, and is based on the recitation of her com 
munications with our divine Master. Two of the 
Saint s companions, of whom St. Gertrude was one, had 
arranged together to write it. It was nearly finished 
when St. Mechtilde became aware of it. While she was 
hearing Mass a mysterious voice made one of the culprits 
known to her and at the same time asked her this question: 
" What shall be her reward for what she has written ?" 
Very much astonished St. Mechtilde asked her friend if 
she had been in the habit of writing down what she told 
her. She, not wanting to acknowledge it, made some 
excuse, telling the Saint to ask our Lord about it. St. 
Mechtilde, having thus been made aware of the truth, was 
so grieved as to be inconsolable. She therefore went to 



2 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

our Lord, her ordinary refuge, and told Him con 
fidingly of her sorrow. Our Lord appeared to her at 
once, holding the book on His Heart with His right hand. 
He kissed it, and said to her: " All that is found written 
in this book has flowed from My divine Heart, and will 
return to it." 

St. Mechtilde asked our Lord if now she should cease 
communicating to others the graces she received from 
God. Our Lord answered: " Give Me to others with 
the liberality of My generous Heart. Give Me to others 
according to My goodness and not according to thine." 
She answered: " What will they do with this book after 
my death and what good will result from its being 
written?" The Lord replied: "All those that seek 
Me therein with a true heart shall rejoice; those that love 
Me will be more inflamed with My love; and those in 
sorrow shall be consoled." Mechtilde again asked what 
name the book should bear, and our Lord answered: 
"They shall call it The Book of Special Grace." 

So our Lord Himself approved of the book being 
written and also watched over it, so that no error should 
appear in it. 

One day Mechtilde, remembering this book, asked our 
Lord this question: " How am I to know whether what 
they have written is correct, as I have neither seen nor 
approved of it; and even if I read it carefully now, I 
could not be sure if I remembered correctly ?" Our 
Lord replied: " I am in the hearts of those who hear 
thee and I execute their desires. I am their understanding 
as they listen, and it is through Me they are able to 
comprehend what thou sayest. I am also in their mouth, 
when they speak of it. I guide their hands, when they 
write it. I am their Helper and co-operator in all, and 
so, in Me and by Me, who am the Truth, all that they 
dictate and write is true. The elegance of style with 
which I speak to thee is wanting, but by My grace, all is 
approved and confirmed in the truth. Thou hast so 



" THE BOOK OF SPECIAL GRACE " 3 

often besought Me never to allow thee to fall into any 
error, that thou hast good reason to believe that, in My 
goodness, I have heard thy prayer." She then saw three 
rays of light from the divine Heart fall on the two persons 
who wrote this book, and understood from this that it 
was by the inspiration and strength of divine grace that 
they devoted themselves to this work, and that therefore 
they generously accepted all the fatigue that came to 
them from it. 

The book could therefore be finished and would do 
great good to souls. Mechtilde s two friends congratu 
lated themselves and thanked our Lord. ... " Blessed 
be God, the Author of all good; it is by His Will and 
blessing that this book is published. It is by no private 
design nor presumption in those who have written, but by 
the advice and command of their Abbess and with the 
approval of their Bishop. 

" May we be forgiven the mistakes in composition and 
in elegance of style which will be met with; we are not 
accustomed to writing, and St. Augustine says : A 
characteristic of a good mind is to love the truth in the 
words, not the words themselves. J! (Prologue.) 

The servant of God was moreover able to obtain the 
book, correct it and give it her sanction. It was not, 
however, without great resistance on the part of her two 
companions, who constantly refused to allow her to see it 
from fear of causing her pain. Our Lord had once more 
to interfere, and He reassured St. Mechtilde, saying to 
her: " Fear not, all comes from Me, all is My work. 
I gave thee the gift, and as it comes from Me, it is also just 
as truly by My inspiration that thy companions have 
undertaken and carried on this work. So, fear not and 
be not alarmed, I will Myself preserve this book from all 
error. Every word that has been written has been 
dictated by the Holy Spirit, and all are as pearls that shall 
adorn their crown in My eyes eternally." 

From this time the two friends, reassured by this 



4 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

vision, showed the book to St. Mechtilde whenever she 
wished it, or they read it to her faithfully. In doubtful 
passages the Saint consulted our Lord, and so He corrected 
it Himself. 

After St. Mechtilde s death St. Gertrude saw her in 
glory, and asked if she were pleased or otherwise with the 
publication of this book. " It is my greatest joy," she 
replied. " I see it will contribute to the glory of God, 
to the fulfilment of His will, and to my neighbours good. 
The book shall also be named The Light of the Church. 
They who read it shall recognize themselves in the 
brightness of the light. They will see by what spirit 
they"" are animated. The sorrowful shall find in it con 
solation." The Saint compared the readers of this book 
to those who should receive a present from a King through 
a messenger. They would possess and reap as much 
benefit as if they had received the gift direct from the 
King s hand (vii. 17). 

Such was the origin of the Book of Special Grace. 
It would be impossible to tell the history of its beginning 
more simply or to establish better its truth and worth. 
Its composition extended over several years. It was begun 
in 1291, when Mechtilde was fifty years of age. It could 
only have been finished shortly before her death, which 
took place in 1298. St. Gertrude, who was one of the 
collaborators, had begun her own book, The Herald of 
Divine Love, the 25th of March, 1289, so that these two 
admirable works date from the same time. 

They are both incomparable treasures of doctrine on 
the Sacred Heart, for rarely before and never since have 
the relations of the divine Heart with the other divine 
Persons or with the souls of men been treated of so fully 
or with so much exactness and brilliancy. 

From this treasure we are going to drink deeply. But 
first let us cast a glance at the holy soul who thus reveals 
to us the secrets of the divine Heart, Our faith in her 
words will surely be the firmer. 



CHAPTER II 
LIFE OF ST. MECHTILDE 

THE first and final chapter of the Book of Gracehad 
been carefully hidden from St. Mechtilde s sight. 
Her humility would certainly have taken alarm at 
the praises there bestowed on her. These pages, though 
too few, are enough to make us appreciate her great 
virtues . We will here give the principal details . 

The first chapter begins as follows : 

This virgin was from her earliest infancy prevented by 
divine grace. At her birth, as it was feared that she was 
about to expire, they carried her in haste to be baptized 
by a priest of great holiness who was just preparing to 
celebrate the Holy Mass. After baptizing her he pro 
nounced these words which we love to think prophetic: 
" Why do you fear ? This child will not die, but will 
become a holy religious. By her God will work great 
wonders and she will finish her life at a good old age, full of 
merits." When she was seven years of age her mother 
took her to visit the convent which was near her parents 
residence. Once there she refused to leave, notwithstand 
ing her mother s desire for her to return home. Full of 
delight, she begged the Sisters, one by one, to receive her 
into their company; and neither threats nor coaxing 
could move her to leave them. 

What do we know of the family that the Saint deserted 
at so early an age, and what of the monastery in which 
she had come to bury her young life ? 

Mechtilde belonged to the family of Hackborn. She 
was born in 1241. The monastery into which she 
entered in 1248 was at that time at Rodarsdorf in the 
vicinity of her parents chateau. In 1258 this monastery 

5 



6 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

was transferred to Helfta, on land which was given by 
her brothers the Lords Albert and Ludwig of Hackborn. 
This monastery was near the small town of Eisleben in 
Saxony, where, two centuries later, Luther was born. 

St. Mechtilde advanced rapidly from virtue to virtue. 
" She had a wonderfully sweet disposition, profoundly 
humble, most patient, a sincere lover of poverty, and very 
fervent and devoted. But it was especially in her love 
for God and her neighbour that she made the greatest 
progress; she showed herself pleased and amiable to all, 
full of tender compassion towards the afflicted or those 
in trouble. She was like a loving mother to those, 
showering on them consolation and help, and so no one 
went near her without being comforted and strengthened. 
She was much loved by all. Everyone wanted to be with 
her, and this often caused her some inconvenience." 

So perfect a religious must have been a treasure in the 
Convent of Helfta. Not only had God enriched her with 
spiritual gifts, but also with those of nature learning, a 
wide knowledge of literature, a beautiful voice, everything 
that could make her useful to the monastery. It seemed 
as if God would not allow her to want for anything. 

Her beautiful voice caused her to be appointed Cantor 
to the Convent. Many times she gained by her singing 
what she prized more than the applause of men, the 
approval of her divine Spouse, to whom she had entirely 
consecrated her voice. She also had charge of the School, 
where St. Gertrude soon became one of her pupils. 
" She taught Christian doctrine with such efficiency 
that we have never had, and fear we never shall have, 
anyone in our Monastery to equal her. The Sisters 
gathered around her as around a preacher to hear the 
word of God. She dictated and taught them prayers, 
and they were so numerous that if gathered together 
they would make a larger book than all the psalms. 

" Besides all this she was a perfect religious ready to 



LIFE OF ST. MECHTILDE 7 

renounce her own will and full of self-contempt, prompt 
in obedience, zealous for prayer and contemplation; she 
also had the gift of tears. She so practised poverty as to 
refuse herself even what was necessary. It was only 
through obedience that she possessed a mantle, and her 
other garments were made of the commonest materials 
and mended and patched all over. Being immersed in the 
love of our divine Lord she so forgot herself that she lost 
the use of her exterior senses, as we read of St. Bernard. 
She ate rotten eggs without perceiving it and before those 
near her could prevent it. Sometimes, when visitors were 
at the Monastery and she had refused to eat meat, they 
gave it to her and she ate it, until from their laughter she 
saw something unusual had occurred and came to herself 

" This great lover of suffering mortified her body for 
the conversion of sinners. During Lent, hearing the 
people shouting and singing, she felt consumed with zeal 
for God s honour and also touched with great compassion. 
To offer God some small reparation she placed pieces of 
broken glass and other sharp objects in her bed and rolled 
on them until her flesh was torn and she was covered with 
wounds and blood; the pain afterwards prevented her 
from either sitting or lying down. During Passiontide 
she was so full of compassion she could not speak of the 
sufferings of Christ without shedding tears. When she 
spoke either of the sufferings or of the love of Christ she 
was filled with such fervour that her face and hands 
became quite red. And we think that she very often 
shed her blood spiritually for the love of Christ " (v. 30). 

In enumerating her virtues Mechtilde s companions 
often compared her with the different orders of Saints 
and Angels. They said: "This angelic virgin deserves 
to be compared above all with the Seraphim; united so 
frequently, in an intimate manner, with that love which is 
God Himself; and clasped with so much affection to His 
Heart, so full of fire, she became one spirit with Him." 



8 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

She was never tired of speaking of God, and with so much 
fervour and divine Love that she enkindled the same in 
the hearts of all who heard her. Indeed, one might say 
of her, as of the Prophet Elias, that her words " burnt 
like a torch." 

When did Mechtilde receive the first confidences 
of the Sacred Heart ? We are told by her companions 
that, from her earliest infancy, God commenced to 
reveal His secrets to her, but she says that one of the 
first graces she received was the gift of the Sacred 
Heart. So we may conclude, that for many years, if 
not all her life, she had had a true devotion to this 
worthy object of our love. Our Blessed Lord not only 
revealed to her His Sacred Heart, but He would place it 
as a pledge in the breast of His holy Spouse. She de 
scribes the event in these words: "On Wednesday in 
Easter Week hearing at Mass the words Venite benedicti 
Patris mei, she was filled with a sweet and extraordinary 
joy and said to our Lord: Oh that I may be one of those 
blessed souls who shall hear those sweet words from Thy 
mouth. Our Lord replied: c Thou mayest be very 
sure thou wilt be, and to prove it, I give thee My Heart 
to keep always, and only to be given back to Me when I 
shall have fulfilled thy desire. I give thee My Heart as a 
place of refuge; at the hour of thy death it will be im 
possible for thee to lose thyself on any other road, thou 
wilt only have My Heart wherein to rest eternally. " 

This gift was the forerunner of many she was to receive 
from God. She began to have a very great devotion to 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ; whenever our Lord 
appeared to her she nearly always received some special 
favour from His Heart, as may be seen from many places 
in this book. She often loved to say: " If all the graces 
that have come to me from the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
were written down, a book larger than a Breviary would 
not suffice in which to narrate them." 



CHAPTER III 
ST. MECHTILDE S MISSION 

Afar back as the thirteenth century the Sacred 
Heart enriched this chosen soul with His most 
extraordinary favours. Like the well-beloved 
Apostle, Mechtilde often leaned her head on the breast 
of the Man-God. She drank from the same source as that 
from which the Apostle had drawn the floods of truth 
contained in his Gospel. She had free entrance into 
this sanctuary of perfect praise. She found in this shrine 
the treasures of all graces and also that of divine love, and 
her heart was filled with the fire which inflamed the 
Seraphim. Also she received the Sacred Heart itself 
in some mysterious way, and bore it in her breast until 
her death. 

In the wonderful favours granted by God to this humble 
daughter of St. Benedict He had special designs. No 
doubt He wished to manifest His marvellous conde 
scension. He loves to lower Himself towards souls who 
sink into their own nothingness, but He wished also to 
give Mechtilde special tokens of His liberality, so that she 
might be received as the accredited messenger of His 
Sacred Heart. The writing of the Book of Special Grace 
was not the result of a little pious indiscretion, but a 
providential fact, instigated by our Lord Himself. Several 
times He intervened to calm the fears of the humble 
Benedictine, to guide the pen of her companions, or to 
give to the entire book His formal approbation, affirming 
that all contained therein had originated in His divine 
Heart. He also declared that that Heart would bless 
those who on reading this book became enamoured of the 
gift of special grace. 

We must, however, make one remark. Mechtilde did 



10 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

not receive any mission to convert souls, but only to 
enlighten those to whom the Sacred Heart had made 
itself known. As the prophets of the ancient law were 
only sent to the people of Israel, so the Virgin of Helfta 
was only sent to the privileged friends of the Sacred Heart. 
The devotion to this adorable Heart was for three cen 
turies to be the reward of the perfect. Even the title 
of the book and the kind of grace of which it records the 
marvels indicate this restriction. It is the Book of Special 
Grace. That of universal grace was only to appear 
in the seventeenth century, and was also inspired by 
the Sacred Heart and written by the timid hand of 
Margaret Mary. 

All are now called to know the Sacred Heart. The 
Book of Special Grace must henceforth be known by the 
second name given it by St. Mechtilde, The Light of the 
Church : Liber namque ille Lumen Ecclesice vocabitur a 
prophecy which is fulfilled in our days. Thanks to the 
labours of the Benedictine Fathers of Solesmes, there is 
now a new translation of St. Mechtilde s works, which 
gives pious readers the opportunity of tasting the sweet 
ness and unction contained in them. Their doctrinal 
value is admirably described by the translator as follows : 
" The mystery of the Incarnation holds the first place, 
or rather is seen and felt, in all its manifestations. The 
Man-God is not only Saviour but Mediator between 
God and man. And what strong incentive caused His 
intervention and led Him to carry out this role even to 
the end ? It was love. Yes, love which is charity, and 
charity which is God Himself (John iv. 8). Love in 
human form* seized upon the Son of God and caused 
Him to descend into the womb of a virgin-daughter of 
Adam; then, leading Him through the rough ways of 
poverty and suffering to the Cross on Calvary, raised 
Him up again, and followed Him to heaven, to the right 
* See p. 14, Book II., Chap, i, 



ST. MECHTILDPS MISSION 11 

hand of His Father, whence she always inclines the God 
head towards the children of earth. . . . The divine 
Heart is always seen to be a source of love and also of the 
operations of love. Mechtilde presents us with more 
pictures than Gertrude, and this applies to all her visions, 
which are nearly always represented to us under a more 
sensible form than those of St. Gertrude. What is more 
delightful or lovingly divine than the gift our Lord made 
of His Heart to Mechtilde, as a pledge which He would 
require of her at the moment of death, and this promise 
made to all : " I will drink of all the hearts who drink of 
Mine" (Preface)? 

The works of St. Mechtilde raise the veil which here 
below hides the Sacred Heart from our longing gaze. 
We might also state, though that is out of our province, 
that their literary beauty is of a very high order. Dante 
was several times inspired by the Book of Special Grace, 
and the question is discussed to-day whether a person 
introduced into the Divina Commedia under the name of 
Matelda* is not intended to be the Virgin of Helfta. 
We may leave this question to the decision of the learned, 
and for ourselves gather together all the passages wherein 
the Sacred Heart speaks to us in the Book of Special Grace. 

The Rev. Dom Paquelin marks the different divisions 
to which we can devote our attention : 

1. The dispositions of the Heart of Jesus from the 
moment when in the bosom of the Father He was seized by 
love and cast into the womb of Mary to the day when He 
returned triumphant to heaven. 

2. The relations of the Sacred Heart with each one of 
us in the mysteries of grace and of the Holy Eucharist. 

3. Our acts of worship towards the Sacred Heart. 

A summary of these extracts would form a very complete 
code of doctrine of the Sacred Heart. So that the first 
pages of this book might be called A Sixteenth Century 
Treatise on Devotion to the Sacred Heart. 

* Matelda, Purgatorio, xxxiii. 118. 



THE SACRED HEART WHILE ON 
EARTH 



CHAPTER I 
LOPE THE REASON OF THE INCARNATION 

THE greatest marvel in heaven and on earth is the 
Incarnation of the Son of God. That by a word 
the Almighty should bring out of nothing light and 
the stars, the earth and the heavens, is nothing very- 
astonishing ; it is the work of one absolute Creator and 
Master. But that the Almighty should deign to abase 
Himself, be conceived and born of a woman, and appear 
like an ordinary child, is what neither Angels nor men 
could have imagined ! And what led the Son of God to 
such depths of humiliation ? His love for us " God of 
God, light of light. True God of true God, begotten, not 
made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things 
were made, who for us men and for our salvation came 
down from heaven, was conceived by the Holy Ghost, 
born of the Virgin Mary, and made man." 

The Incarnation is therefore caused by love St. 
Mechtilde states the truth with both strength and grace. 
She personifies love under the form of a Virgin, and it 
is this Virgin who steals from the Heart of God His 
Son eternal and Almighty as Himself. 

We will give her own words : " She saw in the Heart 
of God what seemed a beautiful Virgin, who had in her 
hand a diamond ring with which she constantly touched 
the Heart of God. The soul asked the Virgin why she 
so touched the divine Heart and she replied : " I am divine 

12 



LOPETHE REASON OF THE INCARNATION 13 

Love, and this diamond represents Adam s sin, and as 
blood is used with which to break the diamond, so Adam s 
faults can only be obliterated by the Incarnation and 
blood of Christ. As soon as Adam had sinned, I inter 
vened and prevented the consequences of this fault. 
I incessantly touched the Heart of God, moving it to 
pity, and left it no peace until I had taken the Son of 
God from the bosom of the Father and placed Him in 
the womb of Mary His Mother " (II. xvii. i). 

What a delightful thought ! The love of God seized 
Adam s sin, blacker than coal, and made of it a precious 
diamond ! With this sin so transformed it touched the 
Heart of God and caused the greatest of wonders, the 
Incarnation of the Divine Word. Holy Church, which 
had already declared this thought in the Symbol of the 
Creed, developed it still further in the Hymn for the 
feast of the Sacred Heart. Are not the two following 
stanzas a remembrance of St. Mechtilde s revelations ? 

Amor coegit te tuus 
Mortale corpus sumere, 
Ut novus Adam redderes 
Quod vetus ille abstulerat. 



Ille amor, almus artifex 
Terrae, marisque et siderum, 
Errata patrum miserans 
Et nostra rumpens vincula. 



" It was Thy love which forced Thee to take upon Thee a mortal 
Body in order to restore to us, O second Adam ! what the first had 
caused us to lose. 

" It was this love, O Sovereign Creator of the earth, the sea and the 
heavens ! that pitied the fall of our first parents and broke the chains 
of our slavery." 

Love alone overcame the power of divine Majesty. 
He, so to say, abased His unfathomable Wisdom; He then 
poured out His Goodness, tempered the rigour of His 
Justice, changed it into mercy and then lowered the 



i 4 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

Greatness of God down to the misery of our exile. The 
Incarnate Word could therefore say to St. Mechtilde: 
" I am the Son of Love and Love is My Mother " (i. 35); 
and the Angels rightly hailed Him, saying: " We praise 
Thee for ever, whom love has made the Son of a 
Virgin" (i. 12). 



CHAPTER II 
LOVE ALWAYS LEADS TO JESUS 

EnS, which caused the Son of God to come down on 
the earth will leave Him no more but will be the 
moving power of all He does. So, the Virgin who 
had personified Love, told St. Mechtilde that she had 
led Mary to go to the hill country to visit St. Elizabeth. 
In his mother s womb St. John was filled with so great 
a joy at the presence of Christ that he never thrilled with 
earthly joy. 

And then Love continued: " I first helped His Holy 
Mother with my pure hands to wrap Him in swaddling 
clothes. I warmed Him in my embrace: and then and 
afterwards I rendered to Him and His Mother all the 
services they needed. Afterwards I led Him to Egypt, 
and then I inspired Him in all He did or suffered for man 
until I had fastened Him to the tree of the Cross. There 
I appeased God s anger entirely and united man to Gcd 
by the chain of an indissoluble love." 

St. Paul says : Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me 
" Christ Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me " as a 
Victim on the Cross. But as love was always the cause 
of His gifts we may extend this conclusion and say: 
Jesus Christ loved me, therefore He gives me His Body 
and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, His Mother from the 
Cross, His grace in the Holy Sacraments, His light in the 
Gospel,- the Church for a Mother, the priesthood for a 
support, and heaven for a reward. 

Love still opens the Sacred Heart so that it may pour 
down on us all its treasures. 



CHAPTER III 
THE FOUR BEATINGS OF THE SACRED HEART 

FROM the first instant of His conception until His 
death Love reigned as King over the Son of God 
made man. This Love had its counterpart in the 
Sacred Heart. One Christmas day Mechtilde was 
allowed to fathom this secret. Taking the Infant God 
in her arms she pressed Him to her breast, and felt the 
beatings of the Sacred Heart. She heard three loud, 
quick beats, then one lighter. Mechtilde was astonished. 
The divine Infant said to her: " My heart did not beat 
like those of other men, but always as you have heard it, 
from My infancy until My death, and this was why I 
died so quickly on the Cross. The first beat comes from 
the Almighty power of My love which was so strong in me 
that by sweetness and patience it conquered the opposi 
tion of the world and the cruelty of the Jews. The 
second beat comes from a love full of wisdom ; it led Me 
to conduct Myself and all that was Mine so admirably, 
and to regulate all that is in heaven or on earth so wisely. 
The third comes from a love of mildness I was so entirely 
penetrated with it, that for Me it changed this world s 
bitterness into sweetness, and caused Me even to find 
sweet the hard death I bore for the salvation of men. 
The last beat, more faint, expresses the kindness I showed 
as_man, which rendered Me agreeable^to aft, and even 
imitable." 

And so the Sacred Heart enshrines an almighty, a most 
wise, and an infinitely sweet love of God as well as an 
agreeable and human love. 



16 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SOLICITUDE OF THE SACRED HEART FOR 
THE SALVATION OF SOULS 

THE Prophet said of the future Messias Exultavit ut 
g-igas "He hath rejoiced as a giant." Thinking of 
these words, Mechtilde asked our Lord to explain 
them to her. Our Lord at once appeared in the heavens 
to her like a young man, slender, agile, and very beautiful. 
He said: " Whoever starts on a long and difficult course 
must gather his garments closely round him so as not to 
be retarded. In this way I united Myself closely with 
human nature and liability to pain, reducing the length 
of eternity to the shortness of man s life here below. I 
darted forward as a giant, in all his strength, having this 
difficult and painful course to run, wherein I should 
accomplish the redemption of mankind. Again, he who 
carries something precious and of great value girds himself 
carefully, for fear he should lose it, so I am carrying the 
precious treasure, man s soul, and have girded Myself 
with care, and I carry the souls of all those who are to 
be saved, with love and untold desires, in My Heart." 

He who like a giant sprang from heaven to save souls, 
transformed by love, became the Good Shepherd seeking 
the lost sheep. The young man, slender and agile, has 
to take the part of the Father of the family going to meet 
the prodigal son and preparing a banquet at his son s 
return* Who could describe the ardent desires of the 
Heart of Jesus for the salvation of souls ? " Come here 
and rest at My feet," He said one day to Mechtilde; 
obeying at once, she rested her head on Jesus feet, so that 
her ear was just over the wound in His foot, and there she 
heard the sound as of water boiling in the wound. Our 

I 7 2 



1 8 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

Lord asked her what was the sound she heard. Mechtilde 
thought she could not tell, and our Lord continued: 
"This boiling caldron seems to say: Hasten! hasten! 
So the ardent love of My heart ever urged me on, saying: 
Hasten from labour to labour, from town to town, from 
preaching to preaching, never allowing Me any rest, 
until I had done all that was necessary for thy salvation." 



CHAPTER V 

GOOD WORDS WITNESSES OF THE LOVE OF 
THE SACRED HEART 

AL Christ s works originated in His Heart. From 
this fruitful and loving Heart, as He Himself says, 
flows and will flow without ceasing every good, all 
joy and happiness in heaven and on earth, In the same 
way all the good words contained in the Gospels come 
from this sacred source. 

He wishes St. Mechtilde to understand this. " He 
opened to her the wound in His Holy Heart and said to 
her: { See the extent of My love. If thou wouldst 
know it well, seek for nothing clearer than the words of 
the Holy Gospels. No words have ever expressed a 
more tender love than those " As the Father hath loved 
Me, I also have loved you " (John xv. 9). And there are 
many others like them, which I spoke to My disciples 
as well as to My Father, while loading them with My 
benefits. " 

Nothing can really express the immensity of the love 
the Sacred Heart has for us better than these words " As 
the Father hath loved Me." We are loved by Jesus as 
He is loved by His Father. That is, He is loved above 
all, He is loved so as to be the object of His eternal com 
placency. " This is My beloved Son in whom I am well 
pleased." 

There are still other words which reveal the greatness 
of the love of the Sacred Heart " the four words of 
the voice of His glory," as He calls them Himself. They 
are each a triumphal hymn of the Sacred Heart; they are 
more, they are a proclamation of His love. Let us listen 
to our Lord: 



20 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

" This is the voice of My glory. When a soul repents 
of its sins more through love than through fear, and weeps 
for the sins it has committed, it deserves to hear these 
words from Me: * Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace 
(Luke vii. 48). And, indeed, as soon as anyone repents 
sincerely of the sins he has committed, I fully forgive 
him and receive him into My favour as though he had 
never offended Me. 

" The second voice of My glory is that which a soul 
united to Me by intimate prayer and contemplation hears 
from Me: Come, My beloved, show Me thy face.* 

" The third is when a soul about to leave the body is 
sweetly invited to rest : * Come, My elect, and I will 
make of thee My throne (Office of Virgins). 

" The fourth voice of My glory shall be heard on the 
Day of Judgment, when I will invite with triumph to My 
Kingdom of honour and glory all those whom I have 
chosen from all eternity. I shall say to them : Come ye 
blessed of My Father, possess the Kingdom prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world " (Matt. xxv. 34). 

The words of glory of the Sacred Heart are those which 
make us happy. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE TEARS OF OUR LORD 

WE are never told in the Gospels that Jesus smiled, 
but we often hear that He wept. He wept at the 
grave of Lazarus, an image of a soul dead in sin; 
and He wept over Jerusalem, the ungrateful and hardened 
city; and at other times tears fell from the eyes of our 
divine Master. Why did these tears flow, and what 
became of them ? Let us listen to Jesus : 

" On earth, whenever I thought of My ineffable union 
with the Eternal Father by which I am One with Him, 
My humanity could not refrain from weeding. Also 
every time I thought of the immense love which had 
drawn Me from the Father s bosom to unite Me with 
human nature, My humanity was fain to weep." Then 
Mechtilde asked: " And where are those tears which love 
made Thee shed ?" He answered : " They are in a special 
place in My Heart, they are a loved treasure, guarded in 
a chosen, secret place." She replied: "Thou didst tell 
me once that these tears of love disappeared in Thy 
Heart as in a furnace." Our Lord replied: "That is 
quite true, for in the furnace of My Heart they disappear 
as drops of water thrown into the fire, but they are not 
consumed, they remain in the depth of My Heart." 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is therefore the source of 
the tears He shed while here below and the mysterious 
reserv6ir which received and guards them even now in 
heaven. 

" Jesus, O most loving Jesus," cries out Mgr. Baudry, 
" how long have I begged of Thy Heart the secret of 
those tears Thou didst shed on earth ! Have I not 
wept enough to deserve to be told the value of those tears ? 

21 



22 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

" Sweet as the dew from Heaven and bitter as the waters 
of the ocean, tears are equally a sign of joy or of sadness, 
and because both these feelings come from the heart, 
it follows that tears are but the words of the heart, the 
exterior manifestation of what it feels within " (Mgr. 
Baudry, 434). 

The love of Jesus for His Father, the love of Jesus for 
men, was then the cause of His tears tears of joy because 
of the glory He was about to procure for His Father and 
the salvation He was bringing to the world by His sacri 
fice, tears of sadness on account of the insults continually 
offered to that well-beloved Father and because of the 
ingratitude of which mankind was guilty. 

The tears of Jesus were gathered together and are kept 
in His Heart. Notwithstanding the burning flames of 
which that Heart is the seat, they are not consumed. 
Let us draw near to the precious treasure which contains 
them. Somewhere there we shall find a tear shed for 
ourselves, but let us bring our own so that they may be 
sanctified, even those we shed for frivolous reasons. 
" Thou shalt say to the person for whom Thou prayest," 
said our Lord one day to St. Mechtilde, " that she should 
not weep so much, but if she cannot help doing so that 
she should unite her tears to Mine, regretting that she 
had not shed them for sinners or through love. I will 
then offer them to the Father, united to Mine, when she 
asks me to do so." Our Lord continued: "Tell her 
from Me, that she should beg Me in My goodness to 
change the nature of her tears as if they had been shed 
from love or devotion, or from contrition for her sins." 

At these words St. Mechtilde wondered much that 
tears shed so uselessly could be changed into such holy 
tears. 

And our Lord said to her: " I ask her only to believe 
in My goodness, and according to her faith My love in her 
shall become perfect." 



THE TEARS OF OUR LORD 23 

Let us therefore take our tears to the Heart of Jesus. 
Mingled with His, they will become meritorious. Is it 
not a consolation for those who weep to be able to do so 
on the heart of a sincere and sympathizing friend? 
Where, then, shall we find a friend whose heart is more 
devoted to us than is the Sacred Heart of Jesus ? 



CHAPTER VII 

THE HEART OF JESUS AND THE WELL- 
BELOVED APOSTLE 

ST. JOHN has called himself "the disciple 
whom Jesus loved." He had a meek and gentle 
heart and through his relationship to our Lord 
was intimate with Him from his infancy. One day 
Mechtilde was anxious to know if our Lord had renewed 
His intimacy with his relatives on His return from Egypt. 
He replied: "How comes it, thinkest thou, that it is 
said in the Holy Gospels : * They sought Him amongst 
their kinsfolk and acquaintance, if I was not sometimes 
with them ? And how came it, thinkest thou again, that 
St. John the Evangelist was so prompt in following Me, 
when I called him, after the marriage, if My manner of 
life and character had not pleased him, for he knew Me 
well, which made his obedience in following Me so easy." 
If Jesus loved St. John more than the other apostles, 
was it not because St. John loved Him more than did his 
companions ? For this reason he was allowed to rest his 
head on the breast of his divine Master at the Last Supper. 
In ecstasy at such a grace Mechtilde asked our Lord 
how she could show her love and praise Him on His 
disciple s account. " First, thou shalt praise Me," replied 
Jesus, " on account of the nobility of his birth, for he 
belongs to My family, the most noble on the earth; 
second, that I called him from the marriage to the apos- 
tolate; third, that he deserved to see the beauty of My 
face on the mountain in preference to others; fourth, 
that at the Last Supper he deserved to rest on My breast; 
fifth, that he more than others received the gift of know 
ledge, so that he was able to write for others the prayer 

24 



THE HEART OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLE 25 

I said on the Mount of Olives ; sixth, because by particular 
love, I, on the Cross, gave him My Mother to guard; 
seventh, that after My Resurrection I gave him special 
lights, which caused him to recognize Me when, driven 
before the storm, he cried out with the other disciples : 
It is the Lord (John xxi. 7); eighth, that by a special 
privilege, due to My love, I revealed to Him My mysteries 
when he wrote the Apocalypse, and through My divine 
inspiration he was able to write in his Gospel : In the 
beginning was the Word, which truth was unknown to 
the Prophets and to other men; ninth, that, for My 
glory, he drank poison ; tenth, that in My Name he worked 
many miracles and raised the dead; eleventh, that I 
rejoiced him by My many appearances and that I invited 
him to My banquet with his brothers; twelfth, that I 
exempted him from all bodily pains and led him gloriously 
from this exile to eternal joy." 

The Sacred Heart not only willed to reward his well- 
beloved disciple while on earth, but He has also raised him 
to a high degree of glory in heaven. " St. John received 
in all his faculties something higher than all the other 
saints. His eyes see more clearly the inaccessible light 
of the divinity. His ears catch more quickly, for the 
nourishment of his soul, the sweet whisper which comes 
from God. His mouth and tongue taste greater sweet 
ness. But above all his heart burns with a more delicious 
love of God and springs with freer and more sublime 
flights into the most inaccessible heights of the divinity." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE EXCHANGES BETWEEN THE HEART OF 
JESUS AND OUR HEARTS 

ON one Good Friday St. Mechtilde asked herself 
what worthy thanksgiving she could give to our 
Lord for His wounds, especially for that in the 
Sacred Heart. "What kind of thanksgiving ought we to 
offer Thee, dearest Lord, for being wounded on the Cross 
for men, when love pierced Thy compassionate Heart with 
the arrow of an invincible charity? What shall we do 
when blood and water gushed forth to cure us, and when 
Thou didst die the death of love vanquished by the love 
Thou bearest Thy Spouse ?" 

Our Lord replied: " Let man conform his will to Mine, 
and in all and above all let My will be everything to him." 

And our Lord added: " I tell thee truly I accept tears 
shed over My Passion, as if they were death suffered for 
Me." 

O Jesus, shall the tears of my eyes be as precious to 
Thee as the blood of Thy Heart ? 

" What shall I do, Lord, to obtain these tears ?" Our 
Lord replied: " I will teach thee. Think first of the love 
and friendliness with which I went forth to meet My 
enemies. They sought to kill Me with swords and clubs, 
as though I were a robber and a malefactor, and I went 
to meet them as a mother goes before her son to save him 
from the fangs of the wolf. Then, as they struck Me 
without pity, I returned their blov\s with as many 
affectionate kisses to those who should be saved through 
the merits of My Passion to the last day. Afterwards, 
while they scourged me so cruelly, I prayed so efficaciously 
for them to My Heavenly Father that many of them were 

26 



THE HEART OF JESUS AND OUR HEARTS 27 

converted. When they pressed the crown of thorns on 
My head, I counted the thorns that pierced Me, so that 
I might place as many precious stones in their crown. 
When they nailed Me to the Cross and stretched out 
My Body so that My bones and sinews could be counted, 
I employed My divine power to draw to Myself the souls 
of those that were predestined to eternal life. This was 
to accomplish what I had already said: When I shall be 
lifted up I shall draw all things to Myself. When at 
last the spear opened My side, I drew from My Heart a 
life-giving drink for all those who had drunk of death in 
Adam. I caused them to become children of eternal 
life and salvation in Me who am Life." 

How beautiful are these words ! The Sacred Heart 
of Jesus embraces souls when Judas came to give Him a 
traitorous kiss ! The Sacred Heart prays for those who 
scourge Him. The Sacred Heart exchanges the thorns of 
His Crown for precious stones for ours ! But the last words 
are especially delightful. We have all drunk of the cup 
of Adam s heart and we have in our veins an impure, 
tainted blood, full of pride and the rebellion of concu 
piscence, passion, sin and death, but from the cup of the 
Sacred Heart we drink of a precious Blood, full of 
humility, obedience, sanctity, and eternal life. Let us 
drink our fill. 



CHAPTER IX 

HOW OUR LORD PIERCED MAGDALEN S REAM 
DURING THE PASSION 

FAITHFUL souls followed our Lord when the 
disciples took flight. Later on, the Sacred Heart 
was to ask for consolation to repair so many injuries 
and so much ingratitude, but first it loaded them with 
great graces. The most highly privileged was St. Mary 
Magdalen : she was also the most loving. 

On the day of St. Mary Magdalen s feast, Mechtilde 
saw our Lord sweetly folding the humble penitent to 
His Sacred Heart. Mechtilde was astonished, remember 
ing the words, " and incorruption bringeth near to God " 
(Wisd. vi. 20) and here was Magdalen ! But our 
Lord reassured Mechtilde : " The intensity of love that 
she bore Me on earth," He said, " is the measure of the 
union which associates her with Me in heaven." 

And Mechtilde cried: "Oh, dearest Lord, teach me 
how I may praise Thee as the loving Saint does." Our 
Lord replied: " You must do it in the five wounds that 
love imprinted in her soul at the time of My Passion. 
When I was hanging on the Cross and near the end, 
seeing My eyes, which had so often looked with mercy 
on her, about to close in death, Magdalen s heart was 
pierced as with a sharp arrow. She also saw death about to 
close My ears which had so often listened to her petitions ; 
she witnessed the sorrow and tears of My Mother whom 
she tenderly loved for My sake. She then received 
another wound in her breast which was moved by com 
passion. She then saw My lips, which had so often said 
kind words to instruct and console her, above all those 
words Thy faith has made thee safe, go in peace 

28 



ST. MART MAGDALEN S HEART 29 

(Luke vii. 50), grow white in death and become incapable 
of speech. She again felt her heart pierced. Shortly 
afterwards, seeing My Heart and being moved again to 
great love for Me, her heart was pierced again. And at 
last, when she saw Me, her life, her joy and all her treasure, 
without whom she seemed unable to live, dead and laid 
in the tomb, her soul dying, so to speak, by the violence 
of its love, succumbed under inexpressible sorrow." 

Mechtilde saw Magdalen standing before our Lord. 
Her burning heart shone with the brightness of the sun 
and illumined her whole body. Heaven showed her that 
this fire had been kindled in Magdalen s heart for the first 
time when she heard Christ say: " Thy sins are forgiven 
thee, go in peace " (Luke vii. 50). It was so strong in 
her that from that time all her thoughts and actions 
were changed into it. Mechtilde also understood that 
in every soul consumed by divine love all its actions, 
thoughts, or sufferings, like branches thrown into the 
fire, are changed into the fire of love and increase it con 
stantly by feeding it. If also other combustible matter, 
such as venial sin, is thrown in it is also consumed and 
destroyed. This soul would be entirely aflame, and on 
leaving the body the evil spirits would not dare to 
approach it. But they who are not burning with this 
fire, I mean divine love, whatever they may do, will not 
be able to destroy their sins. The evil they do will 
weigh them down and be a heavy load at the hour 
of death. 

According to this doctrine, with what a great love must 
Magdalen s heart have been filled 1 This holy fire had 
been enkindled on the day she was forgiven, but it had 
grown every day while she followed Jesus, listened to 
His words, and imitated His virtues. What had it become 
after she had received the five wounds in her heart at 
the time of the Passion ? What was it after our Lord s 
appearance to her on the morning of the Resurrection ? 



30 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

What was it at the end of Magdalen s life after her long 
years of penance in the Cave of St. Baume ? 

She is one of the lovers of the Sacred Heart and her 
mission is to gain for it disciples from amongst the lost 
sheep. And Mechtilde teaches us how it is done: " She 
seemed to see, springing from our Lord s feet, two trees 
covered with leaves and fruit, signifying the fruits of 
penance that Magdalen gathered, and distributed with 
joy to all who sought her help." Mechtilde understood 
that she had obtained at our Lord s feet the privilege 
of obtaining for all those who invoked her the gift of true 
repentance, and St. Mary Magdalen said to her: " Every 
one who gives thanks to God for the tears I shed over the 
feet of Christ, and for my having washed those sacred feet 
and wiped them with my hair; and who praises Him for 
the love He then poured into my soul and heart, so in 
flaming me that I could never again love anything else; 
and begs tears of true repentance and the infusion of 
divine love, will see our Lord listen willingly, because of 
my merits, to his pious requests. Before death his sins 
will be forgiven and he will increase in the love of God." 

Sinful souls who have sullied your hearts like Magdalen, 
do you not feel great comfort in hearing such words ? 
You, too, can reach the Heart of God. You can also burn 
with the same love as Magdalen and receive the same 
wounds ! 

Prayer to St. Mary Magdalen. 

I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the 
living God, for all the tears that Blessed Mary Magdalen 
shed at Thy feet, for washing them with her hands, 
wiping them with her hair, and for the love with 
which Thou didst so entirely inflame her body and soul, 
filling her heart so that she never loved any other thing 
than Thyself. Therefore, I beg of Thee, Lord Jesus, 
that by her great merits Thou wouldst grant me the tears 



PRATER TO ST. MARY MAGDALEN 31 

of true repentance and fill me with Thy divine love, so 
that before death all my sins may be forgiven by Thee, 
Jesus, Saviour of the World, King of glory, who livest 
and reignest with the same God, Father and Holy Spirit, 
world without end. Amen. 



CHAPTER X 

THE SACRED HEART AT THE TIME OF OUR 
LORD S DEATH 



E^E led our Divine Lord in the way of sorrow and 
kept Him in it until death. 
St. Mechtilde asked our Lord how it was that He 
had expired so quickly, after three beats of His divine 
Heart. He answered her: "When in a transport of joy 
the Holy Trinity created My soul, the Three Divine 
Persons at once surrounded it with Their ineffable love 
and poured Themselves entirely into it, thus giving to 
My soul all They possessed the Father, His almighty 
power; the Son, His uncreated wisdom; The Holy Spirit, 
His goodness and love. Then My soul possessed by grace 
what the Divinity possesses by nature. At that moment 
the divine and eternal desire which the Holy Trinity had 
always entertained to unite human nature to the Divinity, 
in order to redeem man, filled My soul with, a great love 
and urged it to accomplish the task. Also, in the divine 
wisdom, I understood with a perfectly clear vision the 
glory of My humanity and the task it had undertaken, in 
consequence of which I had to devote Myself unsparingly 
to the salvation of men. To Me the thought was the 
cause of a divine joy which filled My whole being. The 
infusion of the merciful love which came from the Holy 
Spirit into My soul disposed and animated it so effectively 
towards the salvation of mankind that the burden seemed 
to it full of sweetness. From the moment of My concep 
tion by the Holy Ghost, when My soul was united to 
My body, this divine desire was controlled by almighty 
power, and the joy by divine wisdom, and the strength 
of its love was sweetened by the unction of the Holy 



LOVE BREAKS THE SACRED HEART 33 

Spirit, and in this way I was able to retain the breath of 
My temporal life. But when the moment of My death 
drew near, this all-powerful, wise and merciful love, which 
at the beginning had caused my heart to beat with so 
much violence, yielded to the superior strength of the 
divinity and allowed free course to My desire and joy. 
My heart was then possessed by a love that may not be 
compared to any other, for it was greater than all other 
loves. The separation of My soul from My body, which 
no other hardships^ could have caused, was its work." 

We learn from this that our Lord s life was only 
possible because His love was suppressed. His death 
therefore was caused by His love being allowed complete 
sway. The Sacred Heart could not contain it. It broke, 
and on the blood-stained bed of the Cross Jesus, like His 
Mother, died of love only. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE GLORIFICATION OF THE SACRED HEART 

THE Sacred Heart had been pierced by the lance, 
the last drops of blood had flowed, the body of the 
great Victim had been taken down from the Cross, 
embalmed with sweet spices, enclosed in the tomb 
belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, and secured by the 
seals of the High Priest. 

At the dawn of the third day the holy soul of our 
divine Lord was reunited to the mangled body and 
brought with it all the privileges of a glorious resurrec 
tion, brightness, agility, subtilty, and impassibility. 
The risen Jesus will sit at the right hand of His Father, 
but how shall His Sacred Heart be glorified ? " The 
glorification of My Heart consisted in this, that God 
the Father gave Me all power in heaven and on earth. 
By this gift I became all-powerful in My humanity as 
well as in My divinity. I could reward, honour and 
elevate My friends and prove My love for them with 
perfect freedom. The glorification of My eyes and ears 
gave Me the power to penetrate fully into all the needs 
and sorrows of My faithful ones, and to hear and grant 
their desires and prayers. My entire body received the 
power as a privilege of this glory, to be everywhere present 
in My humanity, as I am in My divinity with all and each 
of My friends, wherever I wish, a privilege that no other, 
however powerful, either has obtained, or could obtain." 
In this way the glorification of the Sacred Heart is a 
power at the service of its friends, and it sees all their 
needs wherever they are. The glorification of the Sacred 
Heart is again the work of Love. 

But what were the special joys of this adorable Heart 
when it began again to beat in the Holy Sepulchre, 

34 



GLORIFICATION OF THE SACRED HEART 35 

Our Lord deigned to make them known to His humble 
Spouse in giving her a foretaste of them even here below. 

On Easter Sunday evening Jesus appeared to Mechtilde 
and said to her : " This evening I am come to serve you all. 
At your meal I would serve five different dishes. 

" The first is the joy My divinity received on this day 
from My humanity and My humanity from my divinity. 

" The second, the joy I felt when in the place of all 
the bitterness that love poured on Me during my Passion, 
it now spread an immeasurable happiness and the fulness 
of its joy through all my members. 

" THe third, the joy I felt in offering to My Father 
the most precious gift, in a transport of delight. I mean 
My soul and all the souls I had just redeemed. 

" The fourth, the joy I experienced when My Father 
gave Me the power to honour, enrich and reward the 
friends whom I had redeemed with so much pain and at 
so great a cost. 

" The fifth, the joy I felt in seeing My Father associate 
with Me, in the everlasting glory of My throne, those 
whom I had redeemed, making them coheirs with Me 
and guests at My table. Other kings, after having dined 
with their friends, leave them once the repast is over, 
but My friends will remain with Me eternally. 

" To everyone who shall remind Me of these joys, 
for the first, provided he desires it before death, I will 
give him a foretaste of My divinity. For the second, I 
will give him the gift of knowledge. For the third, I will 
offer his soul to My Father at the hour of his death. For 
the fourth, I will share with him My labours and the 
fruit of,all My sufferings, and for the fifth, I will associate 
him in the happiness of the Saints." 

It will be instructive to compare this revelation made 
to St. Mechtilde in the thirteenth century with a page 
written in the nineteenth by a learned and pious bishop 
on the mysteries of the Heart of Jesus : 



36 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

" To-day while giving Himself to God His Father, 
and to His Church, Jesus takes possession of His Kingdom. 
He is established king over Sion, His holy mountain 
(Ps. ii. 6), and His reign is the reign of the light of truth, 
which He spreads through the world, and by which He 
subdues it. From His Heart, whence it originated and 
where it is retained, this divine light spreads, glorifying 
His body, and, with it, His Church. 

" And so, for Jesus Himself, He must reign. He made 
Himself servant to His Father; He delivered to Him the 
kingdom He had conquered and the Father established 
Him King. He had served souls in redeeming them, 
and He gave Himself to them, and they gave themselves 
to Him, acknowledging Him as their only Chief. Truth 
is His kingdom, and truth is His love, which sanctifies 
the world and becomes for ever its law. 

" And such to-day is the part played by the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus. It grows and spreads in itself, but it also 
grows in the Church to which it communicates its life, its 
holiness and its glory. 

" Ah, what zeal fills the Sacred Heart of Jesus ! What 
charity consumes it ! And yet it is always in peace and 
accomplishes, with a calm joy, the sublime devotedness 
of His life. Hitherto, His Heart only saw in God an 
irritated Judge, now it finds in Him a Father, full of kind 
ness. He saw humanity far from God, covered by its 
sins, buried in death; now it rises with Him from the 
tomb. He clothes Himself with our human nature as with 
a mantle of glory, in order to appear a holy and eternal 
High Priest, before His Father. His Heart feels the life 
which abounds. He allows it to overflow and spread 
abroad; this divine Heart expands; He lives, who was 
dead; He triumphs, who was vanquished; He super- 
abounds in joy, who was plunged in sadness, weariness 
and fear. O Jesus, what happy moments ! O night, 
what mysteries ! Happy Angels who behold all this, 
when He renewed the living interchange of graces between 



GLORIFICATION OF THE SACRED HEART 37 

heaven and earth, when the soul, violently separated from 
the body by death, was happily reunited to it by a secret 
dispensation, after it had received the much-desired 
baptism of death. Holy Angels who witnessed all this 
I unite myself to your adoration, to your love; I adore 
and love with you. 

" O Heart, how pure and holy thou art at this time ! 
May I dare to fix my gaze on thee ? I, alas, who languish 
and die in my sins. The Heart of Jesus, always holy, 
always united to God, always rejoicing in the vision of 
His face, receives now an increase of beatitude after 
which He had long sighed. But, independently of what 
He felt Himself, and of what He enjoyed as the personal 
reward of His merits, He felt then all the happiness 
which is experienced by the hearts of the elect when they 
first come in contact with the divine Essence in the light 
of glory. He saw, in that instant, what the Saints see 
and shall see by Him, and He concentrated in one very 
pure and perfect act of love what the Saints shall for ever 
possess as the development and expression of the mysteries 
of His life. Then, truly, arose in His Heart what God 
has prepared for His Saints glory and joy, ecstasies 
and the delights abounding in the hearts of Angels, 
patriarchs, prophets, apostles and the just of all times. 
Jesus possessed all these concentrated in all their fulness 
in His Heart. 

" Oh, blessedness of heart ! never was any heart more 
worthy of possessing it ! Jesus, Lord and God of heaven 
and earth, we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give Thee 
thanks for having revealed Thy glory, for having clothed 
Thyself with Thy divine attributes and for having at 
length ascended that throne which Thou hadst seemed 
to have abandoned ! When Jesus shall appear to me in 
the glory of His resurrection, I shall be like Him, for I 
shall see Him as He is, and my heart shall then be in His 
Heart, inundated with His joys, which shall be mine." 
(Mgr. Baudry, 256-268.) 



CHAPTER XII 

PRAISE AND SUPPLICATION THE FIVE JOTS 

OF THE HEART OF JESUS IN HIS 

RESURRECTION 

A the Sacred Heart has promised to reward those 
who should honour the joys of His resurrection, 
why should we not try to deserve those rewards ? 
His devoted servant, Mechtilde, has drawn up a magnifi 
cent prayer in honour of His joys. Let us say it with 
her, especially during the Paschal octave: 

" Praise, adoration, greatness, glory and blessing be to 
Thee, O good Jesus, for this ineffable joy, felt by Thee 
in Thy blessed Humanity, when Thy Father gave it 
divine glorification at Thy resurrection and conferred 
on all the elect the eternal glorification of His divinity. 
By this ineffable joy I beg of Thee, O loving Mediator 
between God and man, to keejp for me in its integrity, 
by Thy grace, this glory which Thou then gavest me, so 
that I may meet it again at the day of Judgment. Amen. 

" Praise, adoration, greatness, glory and blessing be to 
Thee, O good Jesus, for another ineffable joy. Thy 
boundless charity drew Thee from the bosom of the 
Father into this world where Thou didst submit to all 
its pains and miseries. At Thy resurrection this joy 
filled with unutterable happiness and gladness all Thy 
members, which on the Cross had been wrung with 
intolerable pain. By this unspeakable joy, I beg of Thee, 

loving Mediator between God and man, to enlighten 
my mind and make me understand my own soul, so that 

1 may always know what is pleasing to Thee. Amen. 

" Praise, adoration, greatness, glory and blessing be to 
Thee, O good Jesus, for a third ineffable joy. It was 

38 



PRAISE AND SUPPLICATION 39 

felt by Thy holy soul when it presented itself to God 
the Father as the price and pledge of eternal redemption, 
followed by the numberless multitude of blessed souls 
that it had then delivered from Limbo. By this great 
joy, I beg of Thee, O loving Mediator between God 
and man, to be the ransom of my soul at the hour of my 
death, the sum that will pay all my debts, appease in my 
favour God the Father, that just Judge, and conduct 
me with joy into His presence. Amen. 

" Praise, adoration, greatness, joy and blessing be to 
Thee, O good Jesus, for another glorious joy. Thou 
didst experience it when God the Father gave Thee full 
power to reward, enrich and honour with Thy boundless 
liberality all thy friends, companions in the fight, whom 
Thou, in the midst of Thy glorious triumph, didst deliver 
from a tyrannical power. By this marvellous joy, O 
loving Mediator between God and man, I pray Thee 
to let me participate in all Thy labours and sufferings, 
and also in Thy glorious death and blessed resurrection. 
Amen. 

" Praise, adoration, greatness, glory and blessing be to 
Thee, O good Jesus, for the last ineffable joy that Thou 
hadst when Thy Father gave Thee all Thy friends for 
Thy eternal inheritance and when that loving request 
and desire was fulfilled, * I will that where I am, they 
also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me 
(John xvii. 24). By this request all joy and all good, 
which is Thyself, became their portion for ever. By 
this delicious joy, O loving Mediator between God and 
man, I beg of Thee to associate me with this blessed 
compamy of Thy elect, so that I may possess Thee with 
them, Thee, all my joy and my whole good, now and 
in eternity. Amen." 



CHAPTER XIII 

LOVE BROUGHT BACK THE SON OF GOD 
TO HEAFEN 

ON the day of the glorious ascension of Christ, our 
Saint found herself placed on a mountain. Love 
appeared to her under the appearance of a very 
beautiful virgin, who said to her: " I am she, whom thou 
didst see on the night of the holy nativity of Christ, 
surrounded with such splendour. It was I who caused 
the Son to come down from His Father s bosom on to 
the earth, and who now make Him to ascend into 
heaven;" and Love, taking the Lord into her arms, held 
Him up saying, " It is only in Thee that the plenitude 
of my power is to be seen." What wonderful words ! 
It is not in the creation of the earth and the heavens that 
God has manifested the power of His love, nor in the 
creation of man, the masterpiece of His Hands, nor even 
in Mary. Love raised Thee in her arms, O Mother of 
God, Immaculate Virgin, full of grace, but she could not 
say " In Mary I have shown all the fulness of my power." 
No, it was necessary that Thou shouldst give it to Thy 
Son, Jesus, our Brother, and our adorable Saviour. 

The Lord Jesus ascending amidst an ineffable and 
triumphant jubilation presents Himself before God the 
Father. In His own person He offers to Him the souls 
of all the elect, not only of those who had ascended with 
Him, but also those who should do so later. He offered 
the works of each, its sufferings and its merits. Those 
who then were in a state of sin appeared each as they 
would be one day in heaven. Loving souls who suffer 
great things for Christ with patience shone in His Heart 
with a particular brilliancy, and others shone in different 
parts of His body. 

40 







THE SON OF GOD S OFFERING 41 

The Heavenly Father received His Son with the 
greatest honour and said to Him: " I return to Thee the 
boundless happiness Thou didst seem to abandon in 
descending to the exile of the world, and I grant Thee 
full power to communicate the same unreservedly to all 
the souls whom Thou hast just now presented to Me." 

Then our Lord Jesus offered to God the Father, in one 
offering, all the poverty, humiliations, contempt, pains, 
labours and other works of His sacred Humanity. It 
was an offering very pleasing to God; never had such a 
gift entered heaven. He offered to the Holy Spirit 
the unheard-of love that had filled His most holy Heart 
by spreading abroad the sweetest perfumes, the seven 
gifts which the Holy Spirit had poured on Him, and 
which He had caused to fructify so bountifully, for it is 
really only in Christ that the Holy Ghost has been able 
to make His gifts bear their fruit perfectly. 



THE DEALINGS OF THE SACRED HEART 
WITH MEN 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE SACRED HEART MEDIATES BETWEEN 
GOD AND MAN 

THE Sacred Heart is the mediator between God 
and man. From the first moment of His Incarna 
tion, His Passion was always in the Heart of Christ 
and He offered it unceasingly to His Father: Christi 
passio, quee ejus Cordi semper exstitit intima, quam adhuc 
Patri repr&sentat, -pro homine incessanter interpellate." 

Our Lord in heaven continues to intercede for us. He 
shows His eternal Father the wounds in His feet and 
hands and above all the wound in His Sacred Heart. 

To-day, therefore, our Lord exercises the office of 
Mediator for each one of us. What a countless number 
of clients all sinners, those in misery and suffering, and 
the dying, struggling in their agony ! If the divine 
Pleader has a few good causes to sustain, how many are 
bad, nearly desperate ? What solicitude He must show 
and what resources He must make use of, not only before 
God, but as to His unhappy clients. Who would not 
wish to see the Sacred Heart exercising this office ? How 
meek, humble and patient, and especially merciful, He 
must be ! St. Mechtilde had this great happiness, and 
she can describe to us the solicitude and vigilant love 
of our Mediator in His multiform and delicate ministry. 

This mediation may be considered in reference to His 
Father and in reference to us. 

4* 



THE SACRED HEART MEDIATES 43 

In reference to His Father, it satisfies all the require 
ments of His justice. 

" To me," said Jesus, " are confided the concerns of 
men and I am their Mediator with the Father. A faith 
ful servant collects carefully his master s income, and if 
he finds a deficit he supplies it from his own substance. 
In this way I offer the good gained by man s industry to 
My Father, increased a hundredfold; and wherever there 
is any imperfection, I supply for it, so that I may present 
to My heavenly Father, before all the Saints, the soul of 
man enriched with the most precious graces." 

So great a generosity on the part of our divine Mediator 
fills us with astonishment. Not only does He pay our 
debts, but He wishes to enrich us ! How this conduct 
of His Sacred Heart disconcerts our souls, always inclined 
to distrust ! But He insists still further: " Come, let us 
see, do you not think Me sufficiently rich to pay all your 
debts?" To which Mechtilde replied: "Yes, Lord, I 
am certain Thou canst." 

Our Lord: "Am I not rich enough to forgive and 
supply for all thy omissions ?" 

She replied: " Yes, Lord, I know that nothing is im 
possible to Thee." " Therefore," said our Lord, " I will 
answer fully and entirely for thee to My Father. I will 
offer for thee first that holy time, those nine months 
which I passed in My virginal Mother s womb. I will 
offer it for the time when thou, enclosed in thy mother s 
womb and stained with original sin, wert incapable of 
receiving My grace. I will then offer My holy birth for 
thy birth when, not yet regenerated in the baptismal 
font, thou wert estranged from Me. 

" Then, I will offer the first days of My life, so pure, 
before I spoke, and those of My infancy, for the ignorance 
in which thou didst pass the same age. I will also offer 
the fervent desires of My childhood and youth to atone 
for the negligences of thine. 



44 ?HE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

" I will offer the whole of My holy and perfect life on 
earth, with the fruit of My Passion, overflowing with 
My love, for all thy sins of commission and omission. 
In that way, in Me and by Me, all that thou standest 
in need of shall be supplied." 

O infinite justice of God, exact from me as rigorous 
an account of all my iniquities and excesses as Thou wilt. 
I am not reduced to the Prophet s helplessness: Si ini- 
quitates observaveris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit?" 
Behold the Heart of Jesus ; from it, pay Thyself for all my 
debts. Thou wilt not exhaust my treasure; with the 
surplus I dare ask Heaven of Thee, and Heaven is Thyself. 



CHAPTER XV 

IN WHAT MANNER THE SACRED HEART 

EXERCISES THE OFFICE OF MEDIATOR 

TOWARDS US 

CONSIDERED from our point of viewthe mediation 
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of immense value. 
It is extended to all men, in all stations, in all their 
needs and misfortunes. The works of the Heart of Jesus 
fill the whole world ! Its office is universal everything 
lives, everything breathes, everything prospers, through 
it. Truth, grace, glory, all are from it, and its office is 
not a transient one which may fail and disappear, but is 
a fixed and permanent state, 

Such is the Heart of Jesus, universal source of all that 
is good, beautiful, just, holy, under all forms, in every 
time, in all places, and of it one may say that the 
entire universe is full of its magnificence (Mgr. Baudry, 

295). 

St. Mechtilde recognized this magnificent prerogative 
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Over and over again she 
declares that all comes from Him, on earth and in heaven. 
He is the universal treasure from which come pardon, 
life and glory. One day our Lord tried to make her 
understand this sublime office by an almost trivial com 
parison. It was to reward her for an act of humility. 
She had just received a wonderful grace, but, recognizing 
her lowliness, she exclaimed with a profound contempt 
for herself: 

" O most generous King, so sublime a gift is unfit 
for me. I am * unworthy to wash the dishes in Thy 
kitchen. " Our Lord lovingly replied : " What dost thou 
call My kitchen and what are the dishes thou wouldst 
wash ?" 

45 



46 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

Mechtilde, not knowing what to say, was silent. Our 
Lord, who sometimes raises a question so that He may be 
able to answer it Himself, at once said: " My kitchen is 
My divine Heart. The kitchen is a public room open 
to all, to slaves and to free. So My Heart is open always 
to all and disposed to grant to all what they desire. The 
chefoi this kitchen is the Holy Spirit : in His inexhaustible 
liberality and with His sweet and priceless gifts He con 
tinually fills My Heart, and He fills it to overflowing. The 
vessels into which it overflows are the hearts of the Saints 
and of My elect, which are continually being filled with 
a wonderful sweetness from My divine Heart." 

Therefore we see the Heart of Jesus is open to all 
men, and thither they must go to seek nourishment for 
their souls and true happiness of heart, Cujuslibet delecta- 
mentum. To express more clearly this precious attribute 
our Lord often had recourse to a similitude not less 
striking. " I offer you My Heart," He said one day to 
Mechtilde, addressing all her sisters through her, " I 
offer you My Heart," and at once she saw Him holding 
His Heart in His breast like a cup, and in this cup were 
gathered three organ pipes which signified the three 
dispositions of the divine Heart of our Lord on earth, 
dispositions in which He wished all to be who had recourse 
to His Heart. 

First, the Heart of Christ was towards His Father full 
of reverence^and Jove. Secondly, the Heart of Christ 
was towards men full of mercy and charity. Thirdly, 
the Heart of Christ was in itself full of humility and 
abjection* 

And our Lord said to all who approached His Heart: 
" Drink and be inebriated, My dear friends." Mechtilde 
wished that all in heaven, on earth and in purgatory 
might share in this grace and come to drink at this sources 
Our Lord therefore offered His Heart to all these person! 
in the Church militant as well as in the Church triumph- 



THE CUP OF THE SACRED HEART 47 

ant, that they might drink so delicious a draught. The 
Saints in heaven took long draughts from this Heart of 
sweetness and the joys of beatitude, while the children 
of the Church militant drank from it the waters of 
mercy, After which our Lord said : " I will drink of 
the hearts of all who drink of My Heart." 

May we not make a comparison between this cup of 
the Sacred Heart and the cup the Psalmist speaks of ? 
" I saw," he says, " in the hand of God a cup filled with 
three liquids (Calix in manu Domini vini meri plenus 
mixto): First there is the pure wine (vini meri)^ then 
the wine mixed (plenus mixto), and lastly the dregs 
(verumtamenfcex ejus non est exinanita)" (Ps. Ixxiv. 7, 8). 
What is signified by the pure wine ? Eternal joy, joy 
mixed with no evil nor with any bitterness. What is 
signified by the dregs but the pains of the lost, pains 
alleviated by no sweetness? And what is signified by 
the mixed wine but good and evil, whose nature can be 
changed according to us in this present life ? (Bossuet.) 

This cup which our Lord holds in his hand is the cup 
of His justice; and it is justice itself which pours in the 
three liquids, signifying the good of heaven, the evil of 
hell and the good and evil in this present life. But the 
cup which the Man-God hides in His breast is the cup 
of mercy whose waters wash the sinners of the earth, 
purify the stained souls in purgatory, and slake the thirst 
of the Saints in heaven. 

O my God, I do not desire to drink of the cup of justice 
which is in Thy hand, but of the cup of mercy hidden in 
Thy Heart, Da mihi bane aquam. I leave the first for 
sinners who reject Thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus : Bibent 
omnes feccatores terrce. 

From this teaching we learn that the Heart of Jesus is 
a mediation for all. To contemplate Him exercising 
this merciful function we must adopt some plan. The 
different subjects seem indicated to us by the diversity 



48 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

of cases this Divine Mediator must plead for, the wants 
He must supply, the unfortunate He must help. The 
Sacred Heart of Jesus has among His clients, sinners, the 
just and souls consecrated to Him. He meets them at 
prayer, at the tribunal of penance, at the Holy Table and 
at Holy Mass. He leads them to a bed of pain, to the 
agony of death, to the flames of purgatory and at last to 
heaven. Volumus videre Jesum. O that we could see 
the designs of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with His own 
in all these different circumstances ! 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE SACRED HEART IS THE SOURCE OF THE 

DIVINE LIFE WHICH WE RECEIVE 

IN BAPTISM 

THE Christian by baptism becomes a member of 
Jesus Christ. Consequently he ought to live His 
life and look upon himself as another Jesus Christ, 
whether he works, rejoices or suffers. Every Christian 
ought to say with St. Paul : " I live, now not I, but Christ 
liveth in me." 

The source and principle of this life is in the Sacred 
Heart. One day St. Mechtilde was giving thanks for the 
work of our Redemption. Having come to the part 
where she thanked Him for having been baptized for us, 
our Lord said to her, " I will baptize thee," and there 
upon a great wave coming from the divine Heart seemed 
to inundate her soul. Then our Lord said: " I will also 
be thy godfather, and as godparents instruct their god 
daughters I will teach thee three things. 

" The first is to bear all sufferings corporal and spiritual 
not for thyself, but for Me, as if I bore them in thee. 

" The second is to accept all blessings and all the 
services rendered to thee by men, with joy and gratitude, 
as if they were done for Me, and not for thee. 

"/The third is to live entirely for Me, so that thou dost 
look on thy works as belonging to Me and not to thee, 
seeing in thyself only a garment, with which I cover 
Myself to execute and direct all thy actions." 

This intimate union, established between the soul and 
God in baptism, is called a participation in the divine 
nature: Consortes divince natures. Two comparisons in 
turn are employed to express the consequences and fruits 

49 4 



50 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

of this union; one is borrowed from St. Paul, and the 
other from our Blessed Lord. 

To become a Christian is to put on Jesus Christ. So 
our Lord tells St. Mechtilde that the soul becomes His 
covering. To express the same thought St. Paul says 
that Jesus Christ covers the soul. "Put ye on the Lord 
Jesus Christ," he writes to the early Christians (Rom. xiii. 
14) ; " walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called 
with all humility and mildness, with patience supporting 
one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the 
Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. iv. 23); "for as 
many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on 
Christ" (Gal. iii. i). 

But where are prepared those Christian virtues which 
form, so to say, the garment or nuptial robe of the 
Christian ? In the Heart of Jesus. Our good Mother 
will take them from there to clothe us. 

Mechtilde one day begged this virgin Mother to obtain 
for her purity of mind and body. Then our Blessed 
Lady appeared to her, standing before our Lord, and she 
took a white garment from the divine Heart which she 
gave to her. Mechtilde wished to put it on, but a troop 
of demons stood on the right and on the left to prevent 
her wearing it. She then invoked our Blessed Lady, 
begging for her assistance, and at once she placed herself 
before the demons, covering Mechtilde with her shadow, 
and the devils disappeared. Mechtilde was then able 
to put on the white garment taken from the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus. 

Not only purity is to be found in this divine source, 
but all other yirtugs.^ 

" I will Myself prepare thy garments, My beloved," 
said our Lord to His Spouse, " and I will clothe thee with 
them. Knowest thou not that worms spin the silk, and 
it is written of Me, I am. ~a worm and no man ? (Ps. xxi.). 
I will spin garments for thee, out of My tender love, 



THE SACRED HEART A SPRING OF LIFE 51 

and if thou canst not wear them alone, we will bear them 
together. Up to this present time, thou hast served Me 
devotedly in thy labours : in future thou shalt serve Me 
in practising the virtues of which I have given thee an 
example." 

What a gracious image ! The silkworm winds around 
its body its precious thread and finds in it its death, 
and the covering of this poor little creature becomes an 
ornament for kings and queens. He who was as despicable 
as a worm covered Himself with all human virtues. He 
died in that covering and calls us from the Cross to cover 
our nakedness with it. 

The second comparison, which symbolizes the union of 
the baptized soul with the divine nature, is employed by 
our Lord Himself: 

" I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth 
in Me the same beareth much fruit " (St. John xv.). 
The branch united to our Lord is fruitful, it spreads out, 
and becomes a vine for the Beloved. Vinea dilecto. 
" Oh," exclaimed St. Mechtilde, " would that my heart 
could always be a vine pleasing to Thy Heart." To which 
our Lord replied: " I can accomplish all that thou 
desirest," and it was revealed to her that the just man 
was God s vine and that God found pleasure in him who 
from his infancy until his death had sanctified his life 
for God. In the centre of the vineyard was a fountain 
and, near it, God was seated on a throne. From His 
Heart rushed a torrent of water into the fountain which 
our Lord made to overflow on those who longed for their 
own spiritual regeneration. 

So we see the soul of the just man is like a vine watered 
by water flowing from the Sacred Heart. Under the 
similitude of wine, our Lord presents to us the works 
produced by His beloved vine. Works offered to God in 
infancy are like very pure wine and exceedingly sweet. 
The labour which a young man undertakes in order to 



52 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

resist sin and temptation and the power of the enemy of 
our soul is as wine, red and strong. The acts of virtue 
accomplished by a man in his prime, for the love of God, 
are as wine, warm and very good. Then the different 
desires which tend to make a man aspire with all his 
strength to God and heavenly things, as also the pains 
and troubles of all sorts which ordinarily come to sadden 
old age, are like wine, as generous as nectar. 

The vine that is planted in good ground and well 
exposed to the rays of the sun produces a more exquisite 
wine and is worthy of being served at a king s table. The 
same may be said of the vine of our hearts when it is 
warmed with the sun of charity. 

" What wine do I give Thee to drink, my Beloved, 
when I pray for Thy friends ?" Jesus answered Mechtilde, 
saying, " A very generous wine capable of making My 
Heart rejoice, as it is written : Wine may cheer the heart 
of man " (Ps, liii.). " And when I pray for sinners ?" 
" A very pure wine, sweeter than honey in the comb, 
thou presentest to Me when thou prayest for My enemies, 
who are in a state of damnation, so that they may be 
converted from their evil ways." " And when I pray for 
the dead ?" " Thou givest Me a wine which always 
rejoices My Heart when thou prayest for these souls, 
so dear to Me, so that they may be delivered from their 
pains." 

We can therefore give to the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
invitation for invitation. He says to us: " Come, eat My 
bread and drink the wine which I have mingled for you 
(Ps. ix. 5). Eat, My friends, drink and be inebriated, 
My dearly beloved." 

And we, in our turn, little chosen vines of the Master, 
may call thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to drink the wine 
we have prepared for Him. Inebriate Thyself, O Lord, 
with these prayers; these good works offered for Thy 
friends, for sinners and for souls who suffer far from Thee. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE MEANS OF LEADING A CHRISTIAN LIFE 
MUST BE SOUGHT IN THE SACRED HEART 

THE prophet said: " You will draw waters of joy 
from the Saviour s fountains." 
These holy fountains signify His wounds, and 
especially that in His Sacred Heart. A Christian must 
always be striving to approach nearer to this inexhaustible 
fountain and to draw from it the water which flows unto 
eternal life. Our Lord says to each one of us : " Enter 
and travel through My divine Heart, see its length and 
breadth; its length is the eternity of My goodness, and 
its breadth the love and the desire I have always had for 
thy salvation. Consider this length and breadth that is, 
take possession of it, for all the good that thou dost find 
in My Heart really belongs to thee." 

Therefore the source of life, grace, virtue and holiness 
is opened, and Jesus says : " Why should not a Christian 
receive what I very willingly offer him ?" "I give him 
readily the treasure of the life I passed here on the earth 
in innocence and sanctity ;;let him take it for himself and 
seek in it a compensation for all his needs." Mechtilde 
replied: " If thou dost so much desire, my sweetest Jesus, 
that we should appropriate all that is Thine, tell me, I 
pray Thee, how it is to be done." 

He replied: " Offer to God the Father all thy desires, 
intentions and prayers in union with My desires and 
prayers; all will unite and ascend to God, giving Him 
pleasure, as several perfumes burnt together cause only 
one column of smoke that rises straight to heaven. Any 
other prayer, even though it should reach heaven, could 
not be so pleasing to God." 

53 



54 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

" In the same way, if thou unitest thy labours and all 
thy works with My labours and My works, all that thou 
dost shall be ennobled; as brass melted with gold is no 
longer a common metal but is changed into precious gold. 
If a handful of wheat is thrown on to a heap of the same, 
it is immediately identified with it, and so the works of 
men, in themselves nothing, when joined to My works, 
are multiplied and changed to their advantage. 

" In the third place, regulate thy whole life viz., thy 
movements, strength, senses, thoughts, words, indeed 
everything according to My way of living, from which 
will result a new and a higher life. See a beautiful bird 
which flies from a fetid marsh and poisonous air; it takes 
a new life in better surroundings. So the earthly man, 
in the life he has hitherto led, becomes heavenly in the 
new life he receives, united with Me." 

Therefore, beloved souls, let us receive with great 
gratitude so great a favour from heaven. Let us take 
possession of the most holy life of Christ to supply for 
what is wanting in ours. Let us also study, according 
to our ability, to conform ourselves to His virtues; this 
will be our greatest glory, in our eternal home. What 
glory could be greater than to approach, in some way, 
the splendour of the eternal light ? 



CHAPTER XVIII 
MART S ASSISTANCE WITH THE SACRED HEART 

OUR blessed Lady is the Mother of baptized Chris 
tians ; she is charged to develop in them the life 
of her divine Son which they receive in baptism. 
The Book of Special Grace shows us the solicitude of this 
devoted Mother. Whether it is to develop His life in 
us or to renew it, it is to the Heart of her Son that she 
always leads us. Better than the Apostles, she under 
stood those words at the Last Supper: " I am the vine, 
you the branches, he that abideth in Me beareth much 
fruit" (John xv.). 

One Saturday while they were singing the Mass, Salve 
Sancta Parens, Mechtilde saluted our Blessed Lady, 
begging of her to obtain for her true holiness, and the 
glorious Virgin answered her: " If thou desirest true 
holiness, keep near my Son, who is holiness itself and who 
sanctifies all things." Mechtilde asked how she was to 
carry out this advice, and our Lady answered with great 
kindness: " Keep before thee His holy infancy, that 
thereby His innocence may supply for all the actions and 
omissions of thy infancy. Keep before thee His fervent 
youth, which was so full of love, that it alone would 
suffice to enkindle the furnace of divine love; by it the 
lukewarmness and idleness of thy youth shall be repaired. 
Keep before thee His divine virtues, which will ennoble 
and el evate thy actions. 

" Keep also my Son before thy eyes in directing to 
Him all thy thoughts, words and actions. He who did 
all things perfectly will efface all that is imperfect in them. 

" Rely also on Him, as a spouse relies on her husband; 
she is fed and clothed at his expense, and for love of him 

55 



56 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

she cherishes and honours his family and friends. The 
soul must be nourished by the word of God, as by the 
choicest food; it must be clothed and adorned carefully 
with what pleases Him ? .<?., with the example of His 
virtues, which it should strive to imitate. It should 
make His family its own that is, His Saints love them, 
praise God on their account and incite them often to 
praise its Beloved with it. In this way will the soul also 
be holy according as it is written, * With the holy thou 
wilt be holy (Ps. xviii. 26), in the same way as a queen 
is queen because she participates in the dignity of the 
king." 

To keep with Jesus, that is the secret of all holiness; 
to keep with Jesus in all the vicissitudes of our life, with 
Him in the mysteries of His infancy, of His youth, of 
His life and death, of His resurrection and glory. Happy 
he who understands this secret ! He will soon attain, 
and without great efforts, to a Christian life even in its 
perfection. 

It is certain that some day or other great obstacles 
may arise on the narrow way that leads to heaven, but 
the Sacred Heart will be with us to enable us to over 
come them. There is, above all, one that we shall escape 
easily, if we remain constantly faithful to Him, according 
to our Lady s recommendation, and that is, taking pride 
in ourselves. The Heart of Jesus throws so much light 
on our soul and its imperfections that we shall escape 
this natural satisfaction and pride and the indolence 
which results from it. 

The servant of God was one day forced to complain 
to our Blessed Lady of an obstacle she thought would 
prevent her progress in the service of God. The Blessed 
Mother said to her: " Go and present thyself to my Son 
respectfully." 

She then prostrated herself at our Saviour s feet, and 
on rising she saw upon His breast what appeared to her 



THE WATERS OF ETERNAL LIFE 57 

to be a very brilliant mirror; and from this there seemed 
to come forth other mirrors which covered the whole 
of His sacred Person. She understood this to mean 
that all the members of Christ in their various operations 
shine before us like mirrors, and that all these operations 
proceed from the love of His Heart. 

His feet, which are His desires, burn for us; He must 
see how cold are our desires for spiritual things, and how 
helpless for human things. 

The knees of Christ are for us mirrors of humility. 
They were bent so often for us in prayer, and also when 
He washed His Apostles feet. In this we can recognize 
our pride, which prevents us from humbling ourselves, 
though we are but dust and ashes. 

The Heart of Christ is for us a mirror of the most 
burning love where we may see clearly the coldness of 
our own hearts towards God and our neighbour. 

The mouth of Christ is for us a mirror of sweet words, 
full of praise and thanksgiving. We can recognize by 
it the worthlessness of our words and the omissions of 
which we are guilty in divine praise and in prayer. 

The eyes of our Lord are for us the mirrors of divine 
truth; in them we may see the darkness caused by our 
unfaithfulness, which prevents us from knowing the truth. 

The ears of our Lord are for us the mirrors of obedience, 
for He was always ready to obey God His Father and to 
listen to our prayers. 

The baptized soul must therefore love the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus, if it wishes to live the divine life of which it 
received the seed in the waters of baptism. From this 
Sacred Heart flow the waters of eternal life. Mechtilde 
saw these precious waters rush out and flow over souls. 
She called them now a river, then a stream, and again 
a spring; but the river, the spring and the stream were 
able to purify all souls. 

The river, she says, flows from the Heart of Jesus, 



58 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

inundating souls, penetrating them entirely, chasing away 
sadness and spreading around the joy of the City of God. 
The little stream from the Heart of Jesus hides itself 
in the baptismal waters in order to flow over all those who 
receive spiritual regeneration. The humble spring of 
living and limpid waters flows gently from the Sacred 
Heart into souls full of love for Him. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE CHURCH ENSHRINED IN THE SACRED 
HEART 

MY beloved had a vineyard on a hill in a fruitful 
place, and he fenced it in, and picked the stones 
out of it and planted it with the choicest vines, 
and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a wine 
press therein, and he looked that it should bring forth 
grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now ye 
inhabitants of Jerusalem and ye men of Juda, judge 
between me and my vineyard. What is there that 
I ought to do more to my vineyard, that I have not done 
to it ? For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the 
house of Israel, and the man of Juda, His pleasant plant, 
and I looked that he should do judgment and behold 
iniquity " (Isaias v.). 

The vineyard of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the holy 
Catholic Church, which He founded in His blood and in 
His love on the tree of the Cross. It has given abun 
dantly the fruits of sanctity, chastity and all virtues. 

This gracious allegory is beautifully developed in the 
Book of Special Grace. 

One Sunday, while they were singing the Asperges me^ 
Mechtilde said to our Lord: " My Lord, with what wilt 
Thou presently purify my soul ?" 

At once our Lord, with an inexpressible sweetness of 
love, stooped towards her as a mother might to her son, 
and took her into His arms, saying: " It is with the love 
of My divine Heart that I will wash thee." 

He opened the door of His Heart, that treasury of 
divine compassion, and she entered as into a vineyard. 
She there saw a river of living water flowing from east 

59 



60 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

to west, on the banks twelve trees bearing twelve fruits; 
they were the virtues enumerated by St. Paul in his 
epistle viz., charity, peace, patience, joy, etc. (Gal. x.22). 
The river was the river of love. The soul entered into 
this vineyard and was at once cleansed from all its stains. 
Our Lord said to her: " My vineyard is also the Catholic 
Church. I laboured in it with pain and sweat during 
thirty- three years; come and work with Me in this 
vineyard." Mechtilde replied: "And how shall I do 
this?" Our Lord answered: "By watering." At once 
Mechtilde rushed to the river. To work in our Lord s 
vineyard is therefore to water it with the waters drawn 
from the river of love. 

To show men how much God loves them, or even to 
increase that love in their hearts, is truly God s work, and 
that of His Son, Jesus; it must therefore be the object 
of all our efforts with the souls who are subject to us. 

Our Lord showed Mechtilde the souls of those who 
are members of the Church under different similitudes 
according to their dispositions. In this way, she saw 
loving souls who had separated themselves from the 
vanities of the world and plunged into the source of 
all good, the Heart of Jesus Christ. She saw souls, 
thoroughly Christian, who raised their thoughts to God 
after having despised the world and its pleasures. She 
also saw souls lying steeped in sin, some ready to repent 
and others hardened in sin, rejecting God s grace. Let 
us examine the tenderness of the Sacred Heart for each 
and all these souls redeemed by His precious blood. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE SACRED HEART AND SINNERS 

FROM the first moment of the Incarnation, the 
Heart of Jesus offered for sinners the drops of 
Precious Blood that He had just received from the 
Immaculate Heart of His Mother. An ardent desire 
to shed this blood then took possession of His Sacred 
Heart and became a real agony (coarctor). This abiding 
desire explains why forgiveness, with so much delicacy, 
was so easily granted to Magdalen, to the woman taken 
in adultery, to the Samaritan, to Zacheus and to the 
paralytic. But if love, according as it is bestowed, makes 
of us either Saints or sinners, what shall the immense 
love which Jesus bears to sinners make of Him ? This 
love makes Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the 
sins of the world, the Good Shepherd who follows the 
strayed sheep, the Father who receives the prodigal with 
joy. The work of this love is eternal; it confirms the 
Heart of Jesus in the three dispositions of which we have 
already spoken. He is always the Victim slain for us. 
He is always the Good Shepherd seeking His lost sheep. 
He always rejoices, like the Father in the Gospel, at the 
return of a repentant sinner. 

These three dispositions of the Sacred Heart make us 
thrill with hope when we realize them in the Holy 
Gospels. Could we only realize them now in Jesus so 
close to us, in the tabernacle ! Let us listen to the sweet 
Saint who had the privilege, like St. John, of hearing the 
beatings of the divine Heart. 



61 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE SACRED HEART A PERPETUAL VICTIM 

OUR Lord appeared one day to St. Mechtilde with 
His Hands outstretched and His open wounds. 
" When I was hanging on the Cross," He said, 
" all My wounds were bleeding, each of them a voice 
interceding with My Father for the salvation of men, 
and they still cry to Him to appease His wrath against 
sinners. 

" As I, in My human nature, offered Myself to God the 
Father with ineffable love, covered with blood, a victim 
on the altar of the Cross, so with the same love I offer 
Myself now to the Father for sinners, I present to Him 
all the instruments of My Passion, for what I most desire 
is that the sinner should be converted and live. * 

If this sinner is converted, the divine Victim thrills 
with joy; but if he resists the graces offered by the Sacred 
Heart, He feels the sad effects and seems to have found 
an executioner. 

" As long as a sinner remains in sin, he keeps Me 
stretched and fastened to the Cross, but as soon as he is 
converted and repentant he detaches Me, and as if I had 
really been detached from the Cross I fall, with all my 
weight on him, as formerly on Joseph of Arimathea, with 
My grace and mercy; I give Myself into his hands, so 
that he may do with Me as he will." 

On leaving the banqueting hall Magdalen only carried 
with her the assurance of her forgiveness; we, poor 
sinners, may carry Jesus Himself. 



CHAPTER XXII 

IN HEAVEN THE SACRED HEART IS STILL THE 
HEART OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

CAN anything more sweet or more touching be 
imagined than the solicitude of the Good Shepherd 
for His strayed sheep ? This solicitude is still as 
great and as unwearying in the Heart of Jesus. 

" I follow," He tells us, " this sinful soul ceaselessly, 
and when it returns to Me, by repentance, desire or love, 
I rejoice exceedingly. It is impossible to confer a 
greater favour on a debtor than to bestow on him the 
means to pay his debts : I have become, in a way, a debtor 
to My Father, by undertaking to satisfy for the sins of 
men, so I can wish for no greater joy than to see men 
return to Me by repentance and love. * 

Not content with following the lost sheep Himself, 
the Good Shepherd wishes to associate us with Him 
in this ministry of salvation. Like St. Mechtilde, we 
feel indignant with those who refuse our help and the 
graces offered by Jesus. But He says to us, as to the 
Sons of Zebedee: " You know not of what spirit you are." 
" See, leave Me to act, and pray for these poor sinners 
that I have bought with a great price and for whose 
conversion I long so ardently. He who desires to pray 
and be heard for those who are captive either in body or 
in soul, by sin, let him pray to Me by the love of My 
Heart; b^ that love which held Me captive nine months 
in the Virgin s womb; by that love which bound Me in 
swaddling clothes and delivered Me in fetters into the 
hands of wicked men. Let him pray by the love which 
bound Me in chains, when led by the Jews before the 
judge; by the love which bound Me to the pillar to be 

63 



64 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

scourged; which nailed Me with so much shame to the 
cross; which after death enveloped Me in a winding sheet. 
By that love which bound Me in all these different 
circumstances, let him beg of Me to deliver this captive 
from the bonds of sin." 

How powerful is this prayer for sinners ! One day 
St. Mechtilde was soliciting ardently the conversion of 
all those in a state of sin, and our Lord said to her: " Very 
well ! For thy prayers I will convert a hundred sinners." 



The Sacred Heart always rejoices over the Return 
of Sinners. 

Paternal love is the explanation of all we read in the 
parable of the Prodigal Son, the joy with which the 
Father receives his guilty child, the facility with which 
he grants him forgiveness and reinstates him in all his 
rights ! His son was dead, and his son is risen again. He 
is like Jacob, happy in clasping to his breast Joseph his 
well-beloved, whom he supposed devoured by wild 
beasts ! 

If the Heart of Jesus feels a similar joy when a sinner 
is converted it is because it is full of a love as great as 
that of a father for his son. Nothing, He tells us, makes 
Me so happy as to possess man s heart, which I enjoy so 
rarely. I have everything in abundance, except man s 
heart, which so often evades Me. 

" But when this poor human heart is contrite and 
broken with sorrow and cries out, I will arise and go 
to my Father, the Sacred Heart thrills with joy. I say 
to thee, that no matter how great his sins may be, at that 
same moment, if he sincerely repents, I forgive all his 
sins, and My Heart inclines towards him with as much 
mercy and sweetness as though he had never sinned." 

" 6 depth really unfathomable !" adds St. Mechtilde. 



THE DiriNE MERCT 65 

" Oh, the depth of Thy wisdom and Thy mercy ! God 
most clement, by so many different and admirable ways 
Thou dost draw the hearts of sinners to Thyself; they 
cannot then despair, since Thy paternal call is followed 
by so much mercy," 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE INVITATIONS GIVEN BY THE SACRED 

HEART TO THOSE WHO WISH TO DEVOTE 

THEMSELVES TO ITS SERVICE 

" T* HAVE chosen you," our Lord said to His Apostles. 

" I have called you," He also says to the friends of 

-*" His divine Heart. The reason of this choice and 

of this call is the love with which He is consumed for us. 

Oh, you who hear its voice, harden not your hearts, but 

appreciate God s gift, and force yourselves to return Him 

love for love. But how can we hear this voice, how 

understand this language of the Sacred Heart ? 

In an ecstasy, which raised Mechtilde out of herself, 
she saw the King of Glory: Mary, the Queen of heaven, 
was at His right: Mechtilde placed herself on the left, 
then laying her head on the breast of Jesus she listened, 
with the ears of her heart, to the violent and continual 
beatings of the Sacred Heart of Christ. 

The beatings of the divine Heart sounded as though 
they would say to the soul: " Come and repent, come 
and be reconciled, come and be consoled, come and be 
blessed; come, friend, and receive all that one friend can 
give another. Come, sister, and take possession of the 
inheritance that I have bought with My Precious Blood. 
Come, spouse, and rejoice in My divinity." 

This delightful invitation was addressed not only to 
the favoured Benedictine, but to all souls of good will. 
This is proved in another divine communication : Leaning 
her head on the breast of her Beloved, Mechtilde heard 
three distinct beatings. Our Lord said to her: " These 
three beatings signify three words I wish to address to 
the loving soul. This is the first: * Come and separate 

66 



THE DIVINE INVITATION 67 

thyself from creatures, The second : Enter with the 
confidence of a spouse. The third: * Into the mystical 
couch which is the divine Heart. " 

By these words she understood that God first calls the 
soul chosen from all others, causes it to renounce all the 
joy it could find here below and to attach itself to the 
Lord its God with an entire devotedness. Then our 
Lord fills it with confidence and the chosen soul, as a 
spouse who never fears a refusal, full of assurance, goes 
forward to the nuptial couch of His divine Heart, wherein 
abounds and overflows all the happiness that the heart 
of man could desire. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

WHAT: THE SACRED HEART WISHES 
TO BE FOR US 

THE Son of God deigns to lower Himself to each 
of us. He stands at our door and knocks, saying: 
" O son of man, give Me thy heart and receive 
Mine." As soon as the soul answers, " Enter, O well- 
beloved Lord," He takes possession of us, but by a happy 
exchange we take possession of Him. " The bee," He 
tells us, " does not fly with greater eagerness to the green 
meadows than do I to thy soul when it calls Me. Now 
My Heart is thine and thy heart is Mine." And in a 
sweet embrace and by all His divine virtues He attracts 
this soul so that it seems, in future, to be one with Him. 
And what will be, for each one of us, this Heart which 
only aims at giving itself and putting itself entirely at 
our service) The passing union between the divine 
Heart and ours at Holy Communion cannot satisfy us. 
" O unparalleled sweetness, remain, I pray Thee, with 
me; for the day of my life draws towards evening." 
It was the wail of St. Mechtilde, and is also ours; but 
listen to the reply of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: 

" I shall remain with thee as a Father with his son, 
giving thee a share in the heavenly inheritance that I 
acquired for thee during My thirty- three years on earth; 
all that shall be given to thee and shall be thine. I shall 
also be with thee as a friend with his friend: he who has 
a faithful friend takes refuge with him in time of trial 
and is devoted to him. So thou shalt always have in Me 
the most faithful Friend, a safe refuge in all thy needs; 
in thy weakness thou shalt lean on Me and I will always 
come faithfully to thy assistance. I shall also be always 
with thee as a Spouse with his spouse: between whom 

68 



WHAT THE SACRED HEART WISHES 69 

there could be no separation, except through illness; 
but if thou shouldst fall ill, thou wilt find in Me the most 
skilful physician; I will cure thee of any sickness. So 
there is no separation possible for us, but an eternal and 
inseparable union. I will also be with thee as a traveller 
with his companion. If one of them is laden with a 
weight too heavy, the other immediately takes part of 
the burden on himself, so will I, without fail, help thee to 
carry all thy loads, which will then seem light to thee." 

Who would not joyfully accept an alliance with such 
advantages ? The Sacred Heart itself becomes our 
Father, Friend, Spouse, Physician, Companion of our 
journey to eternity, carrying with us the burden of life. 

Mechtilde had heard before, several times, the nature 
of this alliance. Our Lord said to her on different 
occasions : " I give thee My soul, it will be thy companion 
and guide, entrust it with all thou hast. When thou shalt 
be in sorrow, it will console thee, and in all circumstances 
it will be for thee a faithful helper." 

Ashamed to have neglected this great favour, Mechtilde 
cried out: " Alas, my Lord, life of my soul; forgive me, 
Loving Guide, Noble Companion whom I have so rarely 
invited to share my labours and whose aid I have not 
sought when I ought to have done so." 

Our Lord replied: "I forgive thee. My soul shall 
remain with thee until the end of thy life; then it will 
unite thee with the Divinity; as I, dying on the Cross, 
remitted My Spirit into the hands of the Father, so it 
will then offer thee to My heavenly Father." 
* After this comforting assurance Mechtilde begged our 
Lord to grant to a person who was her faithful friend 
what He had just granted to her, and, at once, she saw 
her before our Lord, and He taking her hands gave her 
possession of all His goods. 

O St. Mechtilde, pray also for us and obtain for us a 
like favour ! 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE SACRED HEART IS THE SOURCE OF 
FERVOUR 

JESUS made to St. Margaret Mary magnificent 
promises in favour of persons who were devoted to 
His Sacred Heart. Tepid souls were to become 
fervent and fervent souls to reach a high perfection. 
In the thirteenth century our Lord had already made 
the same promises and verified them in those chosen by 
His love. 

St. Mechtilde had a tender devotion for the Heart 
of Jesus. Often she happened, when tepid and less 
fervent, to feel the divine Heart unite itself with her 
heart, like liquid gold, and the approach of this fire pro 
duced in her so much sweetness that she was soon glowing 
with her accustomed great love. 

" The love of the Sacred Heart watches with great 
care over the souls that have consecrated themselves to 
its service. Therefore whenever a man feels his devotion 
diminished, his heart becoming cold, and perceives that 
he has strayed from God, he ought to call on this Love, 
entrust to it all his desires, praying it to obtain for him 
the grace or zeal of true devotion. He should also beg 
Love to guard all the good he does, and Love will preserve 
it carefully in the casket of the divine Heart, returning 
it faithfully to the soul, increased and ennobled. In all 
his sorrows and trials let him call Love to his help. With 
Love man feels not weakness and faints not in adversity." 

The soul is therefore reanimated in fervour when it 
casts itself into the Sacred Heart and calls on its burning 
Love. And indeed, whatever may be the nature of the 
weakness which overwhelms it, an efficacious remedy will 
always be found for it in this Heart. 

70 



THE KINDLING OF FERVOUR 71 

One day when Mechtilde was honouring the divine 
wounds, she saw they were surrounded by precious stones, 
and as she was astonished at this our Lord said to her: 
"Precious stones possess great qualities and may sometimes 
chase away great sickness; in the same way My wounds 
are so efficacious that they drive away all languor from 
men s souls. Some men have such weak, trembling 
hearts that they never dare to trust in My tenderness and 
they try to fly from Me. One would say they had the 
palsy. If they would take refuge in My Passion, honour 
ing tenderly My wounds, I would soon deliver them from 
all fear. Others have restless, fickle hearts; they never 
stop to think; at the smallest word they give way to im 
patience or even anger. If they would recall My Passion, 
if they penetrated their minds with the remembrance 
of My wounds, they would acquire stability and find 
patience. There are others who have a sleeping paralysis. 
I mean all those who do all lazily and carelessly. They, 
too, at the remembrance of My Passion and the con 
sideration of the depth and pain of My wounds would be 
aroused from their tepidity." 

But of all our Saviour s wounds we must have special 
recourse to that of His Heart. 

Praying for a person under this spiritual torpor, Mech 
tilde saw her soul in the divine Heart under the appear 
ance of a little child. She tried to hold this divine 
Heart in her hands. Our Lord said: " May she always 
come to Me so in her sorrows, and may she cling to My 
divine Heart, seeking there consolation, and I will never 
abandon her." 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE SACRED REAM AND ITS UNION WITH 
SOULS 

" IT TO my Beloved and my Beloved to me." These 
I words of the Spouse in the Canticles express the 
intimate union between Jesus and the faithful soul. 
This union is the greatest desire of Jesus. " My delights 
are," He tells us, " to be with the children of men." 
It is also the greatest desire of the loving soul. " Thou 
in me and I in Thee. Grant that we may eternally 
remain so united." Who will give me, Lord, to be so 
united with Thee that I may be absorbed in Thee so as 
to forget myself ? 

It is therefore the happiest of all days when Love says 
to us, as to St. Mechtilde : " Enter into the joy of thy 
Lord." Hearing this, she was rapt in God, and as a 
drop of water mingled with wine is changed entirely into 
wine, so this blessed soul, entering into God, became one 
and the same spirit with Him. United thus she annihi 
lated herself, but God raised her, saying: " I will pour 
into thee all that a human heart can contain, and I will 
increase My graces in thee as far as a creature can receive 
them." 

Love added: " Rest here, leaning on the Heart of Him 
who loves thee. Be not uneasy in prosperity, taste in 
peace the remembrance of all thy Beloved has done for 
thee, so as to be without fear in adversity." 

Every day, at the Altar, in the mystery of the Consecra 
tion and the Communion, the marvellous fact of our 
union with the Sacred Heart really takes place. 

One day during Mass, Mechtilde saw numberless 
graces flowing from the Heart of Jesus on faithful souls. 

7* 



THE SACRED HEARTS UNION WITH SOULS 73 

She was seized with a great longing to see her own heart 
plunged entirely into the divine Heart. At once, she 
felt that it was thrown into this adorable Heart, as a fish 
into the water. 

In her ardent devotion she implored our Lord to teach 
her what dispositions she should have in her heart so as to 
remain in the happy union with which she was favoured. 
At once, the Sacred Heart appeared to her as a beautiful 
and spacious dwelling, and in this dwelling she saw a 
smaller one. 

" It is in this way," said our Lord, " that thy soul is 
always enclosed in My Heart, and I in the heart of thy 
soul. Thou possessest Me within thee and I am more 
intimately united to thee than anything else can be, 
and yet My divine Heart is so great and so superior to 
thy soul that it seems unable to attain thereto." 

Mechtilde also saw in this dwelling of the divine 
Heart four beautiful Virgins. They were Humility, 
Patience, Meekness and Charity, this last more beautiful 
than the others. Our Lord said to her: " Strive to 
become intimate with these Virgins and to obtain their 
friendship if thou wilt remain with Me in this dwelling 
of My Heart and enjoy My presence. When vanity shall 
endeavour to weaken thy heart, remember My charity, 
It was so strong that it drew Me from My rest in the 
bosom of the Father, made Me descend into the Virgin s 
womb, wrapped Me in swaddling clothes and laid Me 
in a manger; it obliged Me to endure great labours and 
to preach and finally made Me die a bitter and shameful 
death. The remembrance of these things will drive 
out all vanity from thy heart. 

" In the same way, when thou shalt be tempted by 
pride, remember My humility. It always prevented Me 
from lifting Myself up, ever so little, in My thoughts, 
words or actions. Instead, I always showed in all My 
works an example of the most perfect humility. 



74 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

" When inclined to impatience, remember My patience. 
I kept it always in poverty, hunger and thirst, in My 
wanderings and in the midst of injuries and insults, and, 
above all, in death. 

" In temptations to anger, in the same way remember 
My meekness ; with those who hated peace, I was peaceful 
and meek, to such a degree, that I obtained from My 
Father the forgiveness of My executioners. 

" In this way thou shalt triumph over vices by virtues." 

In this way also we may dwell in the Heart of Jesus, 
live His Life, be animated with His Spirit and consumed 
with His love. But if the soul has entered into the 
divine Heart, it is in order to enjoy the treasures it 
contains. It opens: our Lord draws the soul and says to 
it: " The higher part of My Heart, that nearest to the 
Divinity, shall pour down on thee the sweetness of the 
Holy Spirit. It shall distil ceaselessly on thee the dew 
of its grace. In the eagerness of thy desires raise thine 
eyes to Him; open thy mouth and breathe in the sweet 
ness of divine grace according as it is said in the Psalms: 
I opened my mouth, and panted: because I longed for 
Thy commandments (Ps. cxviii. 131). 

" In the lower part of My Heart, that which is 
nearest to My Humanity, thou wilt find a treasure con 
taining all good things in great abundance to satisfy all 
thy desires." 

Our Lord then developed this thought, giving to His 
Sacred Heart, as to the world, four cardinal points. He 
added: " In the east of My Heart thou wilt find the light 
of true wisdom; it will make thee know and accomplish 
entirely My will. In the western part, thou shalt behold 
a delightful paradise; there thou shalt always be with Me, 
seated at my table." 

What a magnificent similitude and what sublime 
possibilities this makes us see ! The Sacred Heart of 
Jesus is associated in the divine act which sends the Holy 



THE SACRED HEARTS UNION WITH SOULS 75 

Spirit, in to our souls, spreading in it the sweetness of His 
grace. The Sacred Heart, source of that blood which 
redeemed the world, and centre of the sorrows of the 
Passion, contains all the treasures that any soul might 
crave. It is the sun which gives light; it is the place of 
rest for souls in heaven. And so our Lord speaks to our 
soul and says : " Let it seek in My Heart all that it desires 
and needs, and let it ask it of Me as a child who asks its 
father for all it wants. Does it need purity ? Let it 
have recourse to My innocence. Humility ? Let it take 
it from Me. Let it find there also the spirit of holy 
desires and take with confidence My love and the holy 
and divine manner in which I acted during My life on 
earth." 

A Last Prayer : " O My God ! I beg of Thee to be 
merciful to My soul at its last hour, giving it the assurance 
that it will rest on Thee." And our Lord replied at 
once: " What wise man would throw away and destroy 
a loved treasure gained with great labour ? In My 
Humanity I sanctified the whole man. In Baptism I 
vivified by My Spirit all that is spiritual in him. Let 
him therefore keep himself always united to Me on two 
points : let him trust to Me all that is in man as tempta 
tions and trials, offering and uniting them to My Human 
ity; then let him direct to Me all his spiritual affections, 
such as his hope, love and joy, and in this way I will never 
abandon him." 

O Sacred Heart, we will trust in thee during our whole 
life and especially at the hour of our death. Fiat. 



CHAPTER XXVII 
CONSECRATED SOULS: THEIR VOCATION 

IN heaven those who are virgins are specially loved 
by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this Heart 
flow endless joys which first rest in the loving 
heart of its Virgin Mother and from her flow into the 
hearts of all virgins. 

Feeling and seeing all the love and tenderness of the 
Sacred Heart for virgins, Mechtilde was filled with 
admiration and gratitude for the marvellous goodness of 
God, and our Lord said to her: "I have honoured 
virgins above all the other Saints, granting them three 
privileges. 

" The first is My love which surpasses that of all other 
creatures. Therefore as soon as the first virgin had 
taken her vow of chastity I was so filled with love that 
not being able to restrain Myself, I came down from 
heaven to enter entirely into her, 

" The second is the wealth which I shower on them. 
All that I possess, all that I have suffered, I give them for 
their own. 

" The third is the glory which surpasses all other glory. 
At their approach I rise, I speak to them in sweet mysteri 
ous words, and they only can enjoy when they will My 
holy embrace." 

Then Mechtilde said: " Most loving Lord, what must 
those fortunate virgins, chosen by Thee, be to enjoy such 
privileges?" Jesus answered: "Noble, beautiful, and 
rich. The virgin worthy of the name, chosen for My 
spouse, must be noble in humility, she must believe her 
self of no account, thinking of herself as beneath every 
other creature and deserving merely contempt and ab- 

76 



CONSECRATED SOULS: THEIR VOCATION 77 

jection. The more humble she is the more noble she 
shall be in the glory of heaven. As for Me, I will add 
My humility to hers, and this will be for her the highest 
nobility. I wish her also to be beautiful that is, patient ; 
the more patient she is the more beautiful she shall be, 
for to her sufferings I will add those of My Passion. To 
complete her beauty I will clothe her with reflections 
of the divine beauty, which I received from My Father 
before the creation of the world. 

" She must also be rich in virtue. She must heap up 
riches of all the virtues, and she will then receive from Me 
the incomparable treasure of My virtues, and so she will 
have an abundance to overflowing of eternal joys." 

Humility as title-deed to nobility; Patience for orna 
ment; Virtues for riches. These are the three con 
ditions exacted by the Sacred Heart from a soul that is 
to be His spouse. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
THE TIME OF TRIAL 

THE soul that would consecrate itself to the Lord 
Jesus in the religious state must during the novitiate 
submit to a severe training. It must break its 
will, subdue its character, overcome its nature, accustom 
itself to the requirements of the Rule and of the common 
life. Jesus is with such souls, and His Sacred Heart longs 
to unite them more and more with Him by the bonds 
of love. Per amoris unionem. 

" I will walk in their midst," He said to St. Mechtilde, 
who was praying for the young recruits in the Monastery 
of Helfta, " and I will dwell in them and they shall be 
My people (2 Cor. vi. 1 6). I will walk in their midst by 
their holy desires and good will, and I will dwell in them 
by love; they shall be My people by this life, holy and 
worthy of praise, and by the good and increase they bring 
to the Church. All whom they shall attract by their 
good example, their virtues or their instructions, whom 
they shall win by their prayers, when they pray for the 
spread of the Faith, for the conversion of sinners, for the 
deliverance of souls from their pains, all these shall be 
considered as My people. 

" They should apply themselves carefully to the follow 
ing practices: frequent and fervent prayer, reading the 
Holy Scriptures and listening to them with pleasure, 
working assiduously, obeying the Rule, observing with 
love all the regulations appointed for them, perfect 
humility in everything, never thinking themselves equal 
to others and despising no one. While they pray in these 
dispositions I will teach them My will and all that shall 
be necessary for them; in reading I will teach them My 

78 



THE TIME OF TRIAL 79 

sweetness. I will sanctify them in their labours, in obey 
ing and in the observance of the Rule I will have pity 
on them, I will strengthen them and help them, and in 
their humility; I will rest in them." 

But let the young betrothed of Christ be attentive to 
see this God, so full of tenderness, everywhere, as He is 
always with them in the labours of the Novitiate. And 
what will He do for them on the day of their Virginal 
Espousals with Him ? He will, on that day, transform 
them and make them less unworthy of Him. " In order 
to prepare for this great day, they must," He says, "beg 
Me to give them intelligent eyes to see Me and to know 
what is for their good; obedient ears, ready for every 
command and will of their Superiors, a wise mouth in 
order to celebrate My praise, to teach and say what is 
profitable for others. Let them plead with Me to give 
them a loving heart which will love Me and love all 
purely in Me and for Me, and to have also a share in 
good works; then what they do shall be done carefully 
and attentively." 

When the Litany was said for the newly Professed, 
St. Mechtilde saw our Blessed Lady, and then each Saint, 
as he was named, rise and kneel reverently before our 
Lord, praying for them. And while they made their 
holy Profession our Lord Jesus Christ received them 
lovingly into His arms, giving them His right hand to 
strengthen them in keeping their vows, and to protect 
them from all evil. When they approached to receive 
Holy Communion, each found herself closely united to 
Him in a sweet embrace. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
TEPIDITT 

SOMETIMES souls who are bound by religious 
profession to the service of God forget the gravity 
of their engagements. Without entirely breaking 
the bonds which unite them to the divine Heart they 
allow them little by little to get slack and so fall into 
numerous acts of negligence. In the Life of St. Margaret 
Mary, we see the divine Spouse irritated by the tepidity 
of His unfaithful spouses, asking for public reparation. 
Something of the same kind is narrated for us in the 
Book of Special Grace. 

One Friday Mechtilde saw our Lord standing on the 
altar, His hands outstretched, blood pouring abundantly 
from His wounds as during His Passion. He said to her: 
" See, all My wounds are reopened in order to appease 
the anger of the Father against you." 

The glorious Virgin Mary stood at her Son s right 
hand. On her head was placed a beautiful crown in 
which, like precious pearls, shone her virtues, merits 
and all the great things that God had deigned to work 
in her. Mechtilde, drawing near, begged her to pray 
for herself and the Order. The Queen of Heaven, at 
once, bending her knees before her Son, honoured 
devoutly His wounds with great respect. She commanded 
Mechtilde to do the same. " Come, also," she said to 
her, " honour the wounds in the beloved Heart of My 
Son which caused Him to bear all the sufferings of His 
body." 

When Mechtilde had gladly done this, she begged our 
Lord to reveal to her what He most wished her to do 
for the increase of religion. He replied : " He who really 

80 



TEPIDITT 8 1 

wishes to become religious must keep his eyes from all 
forbidden or even useless looks. He must abstain from 
hearing anything that might sully his heart; he must 
prevent his mouth from ever uttering a useless word, and 
if he has seen or heard anything evil he must never 
permit his mouth to speak of it. Above all, he must 
guard his heart and watch that it never takes pleasure 
in bad thoughts and that it never dwells on them willingly. 
Man cannot prevent such thoughts from presenting 
themselves, but he can easily drive them away, so as not 
to consent to them, nor dwell on them willingly. He 
must also carefully watch his actions, and whenever he 
finds he has done wrong on some point, his heart must 
have no rest until he has asked God s pardon and purposed 
going to Confession as soon as possible." 

To understand well the signification of this lesson of 
Jesus to His humble servant we must remember that He 
appeared to her in the state of a Victim. He therefore 
does not speak of religious virtues which console His 
Heart, but of faults and negligences which sadden it. 
The perfection He exacts from His spouses does not, of 
course, admit of any wilful sin, but furthermore, as we 
shall see later, it expects the practice of all religious virtues. 

This lesson of the Sacred Heart addressed to Religious 
is given here as a reproach. In another place He repeats 
it as a counsel to a soul whom He wishes to draw to His 
love. 

" How I should love to be Thy slave !" St. Mechtilde 
said to Him one day. Our Lord replied : " He who would 
be a slave on earth must deny to his eyes all that is for 
bidden and useless and restrain them in all things ; and I 
in the glory of heaven will open the eyes of that person, 
revealing to him the brightness of My face, and I will 
manifest My glory to him. I will show Myself to him 
in such a delightful way that all the heavenly court shall 
be in joy and admiration." " And also to him who keeps 

6 



82 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART: 

his ears captive and prevents them hearing anything that 
is useless or hurtful I will sing sweetly a melody of special 
glory in eternity." " He who puts a check on his lips, 
to prevent idle or hurtful words, shall receive from Me 
the great gift to open them to My praise and to celebrate 
My glory more worthily than others." " He who keeps 
his heart from all vain or evil thoughts, from all improper 
desires, shall be liberally rewarded by Me; he shall obtain 
from Me all he desires and his heart shall taste great 
liberty and happiness without end in My divine Heart. 
He who binds his hands that they may commit no sin 
will be delivered from all toil. I will give him a glorious 
and eternal rest, I will bestow on his good actions united 
to Mine so much honour that all the celestial Court will 
receive an increase of joy." 



CHAPTER XXX 
THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE 

FOR a soul consecrated to God it is not sufficient 
to hate evil, be it ever so heartily; it must also 
have a great love for all the virtues of its holy state. 
Hoc sentite in vobis quod et in Christo Jesu. Its thoughts, 
affections, desires and all its works must be in harmony 
with those of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Blessed John Eudes tells us: " The Hearts of Jesus and 
Mary are only One Heart, for they are animated with the 
same desires and burn with the same love." In the same 
way, one ought to be able to say that the Heart of Jesus 
and the heart of a Religious make only one heart. 

St. Mechtilde was praying for her sisters, asking God to 
increase His grace in them, making them abound in virtue 
and good works of every kind. She received this answer 
from our Lord: " As long as I find in them humble sub 
mission, love of virginal purity, loving gratitude and 
tender love, I will never turn away from them the pro 
tecting eyes of a Father, and I will never forsake them in 
their needs." 

A humble submission that is, obedience to their 
Superiors and a gentle, simple deference among them 
selves. 

Love of virginal purity, which does not merely consist 
in preserving virginity, but also in the love they must 
have for chastity, in the care with which they must guard 
their hearts and senses in order to avoid all that could 
stain them. A present lovingly received is so treated, 
it is considered very valuable, and great care is taken that 
it should be neither lost nor spoilt. 

A loving gratitude, which causes them to accept from 



84 SHE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEAR! 

God with thanksgiving not only spiritual gifts, but also 
what is necessary for the body, as clothing and food, they 
will receive all with a loving, contented heart, always 
thinking that more is given than they have deserved. A 
tender love with which they will love God sincerely and 
each other for God, striving to outdo each other in 
kind deeds. 

But of all the virtues suitable to Religious, the Heart 
of Jesus prefers Obedience. The gift of Perseverance 
is its fruit. " From the day that a Religious gives up 
to Me her own will and leaves it in the hands of her 
Superiors, I have received her into My arms; I shall not 
allow her to go far from Me, unless she herself turns back 
and avoids Me. If she does this, she cannot return to 
her former place without humbling herself." 

By these words Mechtilde understood that Jesus on 
the day of Profession takes each Religious into His fatherly 
arms, and does not in future leave him unless (which God 
forbid) he wilfully refuses to obey. This is, in a sense, 
to escape out of our Lord s hands. These hands will not 
receive him again unless, by true repentance and fitting 
satisfaction, he prostrates himself humbly before God, 
promising solemnly to obey in future. 

Our Lord confirmed this doctrine by a vision. Mech 
tilde saw the soul of a deceased Religious, and, as she 
asked why it was not in heaven, our Lord replied: " He 
thought himself wiser than his Superior, of whose actions 
he disapproved, thinking he knew better. This caused him 
to be separated from Me after his death, for a Religious 
is never so wise but that he should submit himself humbly 
to his Superior, and bow to his authority in all that is 
good." 

If Religious only understood their happiness ! On their 
Profession day Jesus receives them into His arms, clasping 
them to His Sacred Heart; He will never let them go as 
long as their will submits to their Superiors. Happy the 



THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE 85 

Community composed of such subjects ! Mechtilde 
once saw hers gathered round our Lord. From His 
Sacred Heart rays penetrated each soul, and our Lord 
extended His hand to fill each with His glory, saying: 
" Behold, I shower on you the gifts of My glorified 
humanity; preserve them by purity of heart, by loving 
union one with the other, and by true patience, and on 
the day of Judgment you will offer them joyfully to Me, 
in yourselves." 




CHAPTER XXXI 
THE RENEWAL OF OUR FIRST FERVOUR 

EGLECT not the grace that is in thee." This 
recommendation of the Apostle to his disciple 
may be made to all Christians. They are 
invited to renew on the anniversary of their Baptism the 
grace they then received; but it may be made specially 
to souls consecrated to God. These ought to renew the 
grace of their vocation to the Religious Life at particular 
epochs. 

Our sleeping evil nature wakes up as the serpent after 
the winter cold. We are disgusted with the fatigues and 
monotony of practising virtue. We may even get so 
absorbed in the exercise of charitable works, as to forget 
the principal end to be aimed at and the programme of 
perfection from which we must never deviate. In this 
way, a Religious, after having begun well, soon shows sad 
signs of tepidity, if he has no zeal for the exercise of 
spiritual renovation, which in our time bears the name of 
the Monthly Retreat. 

Our vocation has its source in the Sacred Heart, and it 
is also in that Sacred Heart that it must be renewed. The 
Religious of Helfta were faithful in making this renovation. 
St. Gertrude, as we shall see later on, had composed a 
series of exercises in order to help them. There was an 
exercise to renew the grace of Baptism, for that of the 
Clothing and Profession, for that of renewal in the love 
of God and zeal for His praise, and an exercise of Pre 
paration for Death. In all these compositions the Sacred 
Heart is constantly studied. 

When St. Mechtilde was one day reviewing her past 
years in bitterness of soul, thinking how carelessly she had 

86 



THE RENEWAL OF OUR FIRST FERVOUR 87 

lived, how many gratuitous graces she had received from 
God, how her consecration to God as His spouse had 
been stained by her sins, our Lord said to her: " If thou 
hadst the choice, which wouldst thou prefer, to have 
acquired by thy own labour and virtues the gifts I have 
given thee, or to have received them gratuitously from 
Me?" She replied: "My Lord, I value the smallest 
gift Thou dost give me more than all the merits of the 
Saints, even if I could obtain them by the greatest labours 
and the practice of all the virtues." Our Lord answered: 
" Mayest thou be eternally blessed for saying that." 

He added: " If thou wilt renew thy promises, draw 
near to My feet and give thanks for the garment of 
innocence with which I have gratuitously clothed thee, 
for thou hadst in no way merited it; beg that My immacu 
late purity may supply for all that is vitiated in thee. 
Give thanks for all the good works wrought by My hands, 
which are a source of merit for thee, and also for the 
works, operated in thee, by Me. Then plunge the 
divine ring of thy faith and love in the furnace of My 
Heart, as gold tried in the fire, wash the stone in the 
water and blood of My Heart, so that it may regain its 
value and brilliancy." 

In these words Jesus conveys a lesson, but He also lets 
us get a glimpse of a delightful secret of His Heart. The 
lesson consists in teaching us again to steep our soul and 
all its powers in His sacred wounds, especially in the 
wound of His Sacred Heart, but the secret He lets us see 
ought to inspire us with a boundless confidence. This 
Sacred Heart will be ready to supply for all our infidelities 
to the graces we have received. If the capital He had 
confided to us has not yielded all the hoped-for interest, 
He will still give the reward promised to the faithful 
servant. 

O Lord Jesus ! we have so often spoilt Thy plans and 
frustrated Thy graces, how happy would we be if, like 



88 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

Thy humble servant, we could say: " I value the smallest 
gift Thou dost give me more than all the merits of the 
Saints, if I could obtain them by the greatest labours 
and the practice of all the virtues." 

At the same time the soul must examine herself and 
scrutinize the most intimate dispositions of her heart. 
Our Lord would Himself one day make this examination 
when Mechtilde heard these words read in the Gospel: 
" Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these ?" 
He said to her: " I am going also to question thee: thou 
wilt reply with all sincerity. Is there anything in the 
world so dear to thee that thou wouldst not give it up, 
if possible, for My love f" She replied: " Thou knowest, 
Lord, that if all the world and all it contains belonged 
to me, I would give it all up for Thy love." Our Lord 
recorded this reply as though in reality she possessed all 
this and had given it up. 

He then questioned her a second time: " Is there any 
labour, any burden that obedience could lay on thee 
that would seem to thee too heavy to be borne for My 
love?" She answered: "Lord, I am ready to suffer 
everything for Thy Name." 

Our Lord said a third time : " Is there any crushing 
pain that thou wouldst refuse to bear for My love ?" 
She answered: "My Lord, with Thee, and with Thy 
help, I am ready to endure every kind of pain." 

The Lord judged the test sufficient and accepted the 
assurances as if they had been verified in fact. As to the 
dispositions of her heart, in her intercourse with God 
and men, our Lord condescended to tell Mechtilde what 
they should be, if they were to be pleasing to Him. A 
consecrated soul will do its utmost to obtain or to renew 
them in itself. 

" The soul of a Religious," He said, " should conduct 
itself towards Me as a child who tenderly loves its Father 
and turns to him for all its wants. It must be like a 



THE RENEWAL OF OUR FIRST FERVOUR 89 

betrothed virgin, who has not been sought for her wealth 
or beauty or nobility, but who is cherished by pure love 
and chosen for the honour of occupying a throne. This 
virgin would naturally be more grateful, more faithful 
and more loving. If her spouse causes her pain, or she 
has something to bear through him, she will show more 
patience. In the same way My spouse must gratefully 
remember the choice I made of her before the foundation 
of the world, her ransom for which I paid the price of My 
Precious Blood, and her special vocation to My love and 
intimacy. 

" She must also be to Me what one friend is to another, 
who can look upon what belongs to his friend as his own. 
She must seek the glory of God in all things and augment 
it as much as possible. She must never view with in 
difference anything that is done against God. 

" When she communicates, she should be like a queen 
who goes to her king. A queen at the king s table is 
liberal; she distributes gifts and alms. My spouse should 
in the same way distribute liberally to all the gifts of her 
King and the help of her prayers. 

" In the choir and during prayer she should be with 
Me as a young bride with her spouse, treating Me with 
love and sweet familiarity. 

" Among men she should act towards Me as a little 
dog acts towards its master. No matter how often he 
is sent away, he continues to follow his master. In the 
same way, if My spouse hears among others some sinful 
words, she must return by contrition, confiding in My 
mercy, for I can forgive all for a single sigh." 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE SACRED HEART SHOULD BE THE ONLT 
TREASURE OF A RELIGIOUS 

FAITHFUL soul, who lovest God, consider care 
fully and lovingly the commandment which Jesus 
has laid upon thee. 

He has chosen thee as His spouse, and thou hast in Him 
a Spouse eternally young and full of beauty. Thy union, 
solicited by Him, has been consummated, thanks to His 
grace, on the day of thy solemn espousals, so full of joy 
to His Heart. 

He arrayed Himself, for love of thee, in .a purple robe 
which love had dyed with the blood of His Heart. He 
placed on His head a crown of lilies and roses, and the 
costly pearls of this crown were the drops of His Precious 
Blood. In place of gloves His Hands were stained with 
His blood; the nails had so pierced them that He could 
hold nothing, but allowed thee to have all that He had 
so long hidden, for the salvation of the world. His noble 
mystical couch was the hard Cross, which He ardently 
desired; no spouse ever found, on ivory couch covered 
with silks, such great happiness or joy. On this couch 
of His love, He still awaits thee, longing to enjoy thy 
embrace. And now, if thou wilt be His spouse, thou 
must renounce all pleasure, draw near to this couch of 
suffering and ignominy, and rest closely united with His 
wounded Heart. 

Consider in silence what a precious pledge He has 
given thee in opening to thee this loving Heart; what 
sweet drink of love He has poured out to cure all the ills 
of thy soul. This noble pledge is indeed inestimable, for 

9 



THE TREASURE OF A RELIGIOUS 91 

all grace, all virtue and all goodness are contained therein, 
and the Spouse who makes it the pledge of His fidelity 
will never deprive thee of it. He acts as a king who has 
not yet brought his young bride to his palace; he places, 
as a pledge of his honour, a rich city in the hands of her 
friends. So the Spouse who loves thee has placed in the 
hands of the eternal Father this precious gift of His 
divine Heart. It is the token that He will never abandon 
thee His spouse; and each day He offers it again for thee 
on the altar in testimony of the love He has had for thee 
from all eternity. 

Do thou, then, daughter of the eternal Father, chosen 
spouse of His only Son, friend of the Holy Spirit, who 
seeks in this Son His rest, love thy Beloved who has so 
loved thee and is all love. Be faithful to Him who is 
fidelity itself. When some pain comes to thee, accept 
it as a golden chain thrown to thee by God, to draw thee 
to the love of His Son. Allow thyself to follow this 
sweet attraction; raise thyself; rouse thy heart so that the 
attraction may be more powerful; make it easier by grati 
tude and patience, and never forget that God means to 
accomplish thy salvation by these means. 

Think also of all the virtues you have yet to acquire. 
If you need humility or any other virtue, open with the 
key of love this precious treasury of all virtues, the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus Christ. Beg of Him, King of all virtues, 
to give you those with which He was Himself adorned, 
and you will triumph over all the assaults of vice. If the 
devil, sower of evil thoughts, surprises you, have recourse 
to the same treasury and take from it the choicest weapons. 
These weapons are the Passion and Death of our Lord; 
make the thought of them dwell in the inmost recesses 
of your heart; it will disperse and put to flight all evil 
thoughts. When sadness or despair assails you, have 
recourse to the treasure of His inexhaustible tenderness. 
It is the wish of the divine Heart that none should perish, 



92 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

but that all should know and love the truth, excepting 
those who wilfully choose damnation. Remember that 
God is more eager to seek man than man is to find God. 
He desires above all things that man should always be 
disposed to receive His grace and to grow more and more 
in all virtues. 

The Sacred Heart is entirely made known to us in these 
lines of St. Mechtilde. She shows it to us as the treasury 
of the divinity, containing all grace, all virtues, and every 
kind of good. We can open this Heart with the key of 
love, and we shall find therein every virtue we need, 
weapons against our foe, the certainty and pledge of its 
Love. Of itself, this Heart longs to bestow its gifts, and 
it is only anxious to prepare men to receive them. It has 
given itself as a pledge for us to the eternal Father, and 
it is always ready to pay our debts, to supply for our 
failings, and to turn away the punishment we deserve. 
If in the thirteenth century this Heart seemed a treasury 
reserved for holy souls, let us remember that since the 
seventeenth it has become the possession of all, especially 
of the most miserable. May all our efforts tend to make 
our souls capable of possessing it. Et Cor Tuum, ut 
magis trabatur, habilita. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

A RELIGIOUS BELOVED BY THE SACRED HEART 
IS A TREASURE IN A COMMUNITY 

ONE Sunday illness prevented Mechtilde from 
communicating. She was much grieved and said 
to our Lord: " My Lord, what wilt Thou now 
that I do ?" He said: " Come " three times. She did 
not understand. " Come," He explained, " from heart 
to heart by love, from mouth to mouth by a kiss, from 
spirit to spirit by union." 

She understood what was meant by " from heart to 
heart by love," and also the second expression " from 
mouth to mouth by a kiss " that is, showing by exterior 
actions her love for the Man-God, but she asked herself 
what it meant to go to Him from spirit to spirit. Our 
Lord said to her: " He who renounces his own will in all 
that happens, whether it be pleasant or otherwise, and 
prefers My will to his own, comes to Me { from spirit 
to spirit by union, and that which is written shall be 
fulfilled in Him : * He who loves God becomes one with 
Him/ " 

She then began to pray that a misfortune then threaten 
ing the monastery might be averted by God s mercy, 
Our Lord said to her: " Thou art My joy and I am thine; 
as long as thou livest and art the joy of My Heart, no such 
misfortune shall happen to the monastery." She replied : 
" Oh, my Beloved ! why dost Thou speak thus, since there 
is nothing of good in me?" He replied: "If vinegar 
and honey are mixed together the latter loses its sweet 
ness, but Mine will never be so mixed as to disappear." 

The following was added by St. Gertrude after 
93 



94 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

St. Mechtilde s death. " See, My Beloved, how powerful 
is the prayer of the just man, and what grace God bestows 
on man because of His friends; truly are Thy friends 
honoured, O my God; they can never be sufficiently 
loved and revered, who so often appease Thy wrath 
kindled against us and draw down on us Thy blessing. 
* Who will give water to my head and a fountain of tears 
to my eyes (Jer. ix. i) worthily to weep for one who 
interceded for us through love, and whom we have lost ? 
Because of her the Lord Almighty has often spared us; 
many times have we experienced the efficacy of her 
prayers ! Inflamed by divine love as a glowing coal, she 
urged us to love God. Alas, where shall we find her 
equal, now that she has entered into the joy of her Lord ? 
She has entered into the nuptial chamber of the Lord 
of all, to rest in the shadow of her Beloved." 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE SACRED HEART AND THE PREACHERS 
OF THE GOSPEL 

OUR Lord, through St. Margaret Mary, promised 
that priests devout to the Sacred Heart should 
have the gift of converting souls. Such a promise 
is not found in the Book of Special Grace., but the part 
taken by the Sacred Heart in the preaching of the Gospel 
is to be found therein. 

Mechtilde prayed for a Friar Preacher. Our Lord said 
to her: " I have chosen him for Myself, and he shall be 
Mine for all eternity. I will be his Guide and co-operate 
in all his labours. I will be his Protector, Consoler, and 
Procurator of the house in which he dwells. When he 
preaches may My Heart be in his mouth a sounding 
trumpet; when he teaches may My Heart be his book." 

Preaching and teaching coming from the Sacred Heart 
must enlighten and transform souls. " I have left Myself 
to his will," said our Lord of another Friar Preacher. 
" I will never strike a sinner against his will, and to all 
those for whom he prays I will give the grace he begs. 
As a light feather carried away by the wind gets caught 
in the liquid balm, so his soul will be bound fast to My 
divine Heart." 

How happy must be a priest who has such power, even 
over our Lord; a power to convert sinners and enrich the 
just with treasures of grace ! And yet this extraordinary 
privilege is offered to every priest who is earnest in the 
worship and love of the Sacred Heart. " I will give 
priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts." 
May, therefore, the Sacred Heart be our Book ! May the 
Sacred Heart be our speaking trumpet ! 

95 



CHAPTER XXXV 
THE SACRED HEART AND THOSE WHO SUFFER 

SINCE original sin appeared in the world sorrow 
has become man s daily bread, but he has never 
been able to get used to such a hard fate. God 
has therefore treated him as mothers treat their little 
children. The Incarnate Word came to taste the bitter 
ness of our sorrows, and He then offers them to us, 
sweetened by His grace and enriched by His merits. 
Then, also, the Sacred Heart is come to add by the charm 
of its tenderness to all the other motives for accepting 
suffering in a Christian spirit. Its condescension for 
those who weep is a mystery of love. 

Adam s sin is the source of all our sorrows, and from 
the root of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil 
a river of tears sprang up which constantly inundates the 
earth. But as all possible sufferings met in Jesus at the 
time of the Passion, dolores nostros ipse portavit, so it is 
from His Sacred Heart that now they are distributed to 
His faithful disciples. Let us refer them to this divine 
Heart with the homage of our submission and gratitude. 

" O Love ! I offer them to Thee for the same inten 
tions as Thou didst bring them to me from the Sacred 
Heart of God, and when they have been perfected, I pray 
Thee to return them there." 

Such is the lesson our Lord deigned to give to His well- 
beloved spouse. She saw herself one day in a most 
beautiful mansion, and recognized that she was in the 
Heart of Christ. She prostrated herself on a large cross 
that lay on the ground. And from the cross sprang a 
sharp golden arrow which pierced her heart. She then 

96 



?HE SWEETNESS OF SUFFERING 97 

heard our Lord say: " All the goods of earth could not 
fill one soul with joy, but it is in suffering and sorrow that 
it will find salvation and glory." And our Lord added: 
" A silken garment is soft and pleasant, so every suffering 
is sweet to a soul that really loves God." 

Mechtilde replied: " That is true in the beginning of 
pain when a soul is inflamed with love, but if the pain 
increases it becomes hard to bear." Our Lord answered: 
" No doubt; but if a silken garment is adorned with gold 
and precious stones it is not thrown away nor despised 
because of its weight; rather, on account of its adornment, 
is it considered more valuable and distinguished. And 
so a faithful soul will not refuse suffering because it is 
too painful; for by it the soul s virtues will become more 
perfect and its merits infinitely increased." 

Who would not submit to pain offered in this way 
by the Sacred Heart ? Mechtilde accepted the trial of 
sickness, signified by the cross and sharp golden arrow. 

And why did our Lord once clasp Mechtilde with His 
left arm, so that she rested on the wound of His Sacred 
Heart ? He tells us Himself: " When thou art ill I hold 
thee with My left arm, and when thou art well with My 
right arm; but remember that when thou art held by 
My left arm thou art much nearer My Heart." 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE SACRED HEART: WISHES <IO CONSOLE 
THOSE WHO SUFFER 

t | AHE first act of a soul that is in pain ought to be 
to throw itself into the Sacred Heart and offer 

-** to that Heart all its sorrow, Jesus will shower 
on the soul wonderful graces; He will receive its tears, 
uniting them with His own, thus giving them an infinite 
value. He will also confide such a soul to the love by 
which He was guided during the days of His mortal 
life, and this love will be more its servant than its master. 
He confided Mechtilde to this love one day, so that it 
might care for her and serve her during her illness. 

Love serves the souls confided to its care in three ways: 
First it undertakes with great fidelity the matters confided 
to it. It also guards carefully in the casket of the divine 
Heart all committed to its care, and remits it faithfully 
increased and ennobled to the soul when it leaves this 
world. It also helps man in labours and troubles, assists in 
good and defends him in evil. 

But our Lord, though He had given Mechtilde into the 
care of love, would console her Himself. One night 
when she could not sleep, on account of a violent pain in 
her head, she begged our Lord to tell her where she could 
find a little rest. Our Lord showed her the wounds in 
His hands and feet, and told her to choose in which she 
would rest. As she refused to make this choice herself, 
Jesus showed her the wound in His side and said to her: 
" You must enter here to rest." And at once she 
entered with joy into the divine Heart, and found sweet 
repose. 

$8 



JOT IN SUFFERING 99 

Though Mechtilde suffered violent pain she was filled 
with joy. " My soul," she says, " is full of divine sweet 
ness and floats in the divinity as a fish in water or a bird 
in the air. Union between God and the Saints, and that 
between God and my soul have only this difference : they 
rejoice in the fulness of their joy, and I in suffering." 
The favours showered upon her during her severe illnesses 
astonished even the Saints in heaven. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

THE SACRED HEART AT ST. MECHTILDFS 
DEATH 

SUFFERING ends in death. Will the Sacred 
Heart which was with us in our tears remain with 
us in our agony, until our last sigh ? 

Yes; Jesus has promised all His devoted servants that 
He will be their support at that dread moment. He has 
deigned to give us a special pledge of this promise in the 
visible protection accorded to His Apostles in their last 
hour. All received the grace of a glorious death, not only 
before God, but also before men. They all prepared 
with the same care, with the same confidence in their 
Judge, and with the same peace in the last moments 
before their sacrifice. It was the same with St. Mechtilde, 

This humble and devoted servant of Jesus Christ had 
spent over fifty-seven years of her life in the Religious 
state; at the end she suffered continual pain for about 
three years, which ended in death. About a month 
before this happened, she went, as was her custom, 
through the exercise of preparation for death, composed 
by St. Gertrude. 

On the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost of the 
year 1298 she received Holy Communion for the last 
time. She then recommended her last hour to the 
mercy of God. Jesus, standing before her, said very 
tenderly: " Honour and joy of My divinity, delight and 
rest of My Spirit, wilt thou come now and remain for 
ever with Me, fulfilling My desire and thine ?" She 
replied: " My Lord God, I desire Thy glory more than 
my happiness. I beg of Thee, therefore, to allow me to 



THE SACRED HEART AT DEATH 101 

expiate by suffering all that, as Thy creature, I have 
neglected in the praise I owed Thee." 

Our Lord received this reply very graciously, and said: 
" As thou hast chosen this, it is another mark of likeness 
to Me, for I accepted and voluntarily suffered the anguish 
of the Cross and of death for the glory of God and the 
salvation of the world. And, as My sufferings penetrated 
and moved the Heart of My Father, so thy sufferings 
and death shall penetrate into My Heart and contribute 
to the salvation of the whole world." 

Mechtilde s Sisters suffered at witnessing her terrible 
pain, and also at the thought of the approaching separa 
tion: " Weep not and do not be sad on my account, my 
well-beloved," she said to them. " I share in your sorrow, 
and if it were the will of our sweetest Spouse who loves 
us, I would live always in these pains and so always be 
able to console you." 

What admirable dispositions ! Like St. Martin, the 
humble Benedictine is ready to live, to suffer, to die; but 
she willed above all the holy will of God, and that adorable 
will had decreed the end of her exile. Our Blessed Lord 
warned her of it, saying with much tenderness: " Come, 
My elect, My dove, My flowering field, where I have 
found all I wished for, My garden full of beauty where I 
have tasted all the joys of My divine Heart; there flourish 
all virtues, there grow the trees of good works, there flow 
the waters of devotion and fervour; it was always open 
for Me to find what I wanted. I loved to retire to this 
garden when sinners irritated Me; in drinking of its 
waters I was so inebriated as to forget the insults offered 
Me." 

On the evening of this Sunday Gertrude was praying 
for her friend, and received from our Lord the mission 
to warn her to prepare for Extreme Unction. She told 
her from Him that after the reception of this salutary 
Sacrament, our Lord, who watches with so much care 



102 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

over His friends, would hide her in His pure and spotless 
Heart in the same way, she added, as a painter takes 
great care of a picture newly painted, for fear it should 
be spoiled by the dust. 

Mechtilde submitted, but without begging much for 
the precious Sacrament. On the Monday morning 
before dawn she was attacked suddenly with such violent 
pain that the priest was brought in great haste to give 
her Extreme Unction. During the ceremony Gertrude 
in ecstasy saw our Lord turn on Mechtilde a loving look, 
full of all the goodness and tenderness His divine Heart 
had had for her, when the priest anointed her eyes. It 
was as though a ray of divine light communicated to her 
all the merits of His most holy eyes. And the eyes of 
Mechtilde, under the influence of this divine goodness, 
seemed to distil an oil of infinite sweetness. 

This mysterious fact made Gertrude understand that 
on account of Mechtilde s merits our Lord gave great 
consolation to those who invoked her with confidence; 
she had deserved this privilege, because during her life 
she had from motives of charity always shown herself 
kind and considerate to everyone. In the same way, 
when the Unction was applied to the other parts of her 
body, our Lord gave to each the perfect merits of the 
corresponding sense of His own body. 

The dying servant of God spoke also very lovingly to 
the Holy Virgin our Mother, recommending to her the 
companions whom she was about to leave, begging of her 
for love of her to show them greater affection. The 
Immaculate Virgin deigned to show she granted this 
request by laying her delicate hands on those of 
Mechtilde. 

During her lengthened agony, Mechtilde said no other 
words than: " Good Jesus ! Good Jesus !" showing that 
she had in her heart Him whose name, amidst the bitter 
agony of death, came continually to her lips with so much 



THE SACRED HEART AT DEATH 103 

sweetness. And all there recommended themselves to 
her prayers, confiding to her their concerns and those of 
others they loved. Mechtilde could only reply, very 
faintly: " Willingly " or " Yes." In this way she proved 
with what affection she would intercede with our Lord 
to grant all their petitions. 

The longed-for hour came at last. Stripped of all that 
was earthly, perfectly resigned to the Will of her Beloved, 
this loving spouse was to leave the prison of the flesh to 
enter the nuptial chamber of her royal Bridegroom. 

It was the hour for the community to rise, and the 
Mother Superior was the first, with a few others, at 
Mechtilde s side, when quite suddenly her face changed 
and assumed a look of exquisite tenderness, coming from 
an interior feeling of great love. One would have thought 
that by her signs and happy looks, as she was now unable 
to do so in words, she was inviting her dearly-loved Sisters 
to congratulate her on the ineffable gifts our Lord had 
bestowed on her. Then the God of majesty, the God of 
pure delights, the only One who can satisfy the loving 
soul, enclosed His spouse in the light of the divinity, and 
penetrated her entirely with it. He, the Chanter of 
chanters, with the sweetest voice intoned a song which 
surpassed all earthly melodies. In this moment He repaid 
this soul, which like a nightingale had so often on the 
earth charmed His divine Heart, less by the sweetness of 
her voice than by the fervour of her devotion. He 
therefore sang to her these words: " Come, thou blessed 
of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for thee. 
Arise, My love, and come without delay." He reminded 
her of the great grace granted her nine years previously, 
when He had given her His Heart as a pledge of His love 
and protection. 

As soon as she had rendered her last sigh in the Heart 
of her Beloved, Gertrude saw her in glory, resting, full 
of joy, on the breast of Jesus. The Angels and Saints 



104 ?HE LOFE OF THE SACRED HEART 

came to salute her, less as an equal than as a queen. 
St. Gertrude begged her to pray that the defects of those 
on earth for whom she had always shown so much affec 
tion might be cured. Mechtilde replied: "I see very 
clearly in the light of truth, that all the affection I have 
ever felt for anyone on earth is smaller than a drop of 
water is to the ocean, compared with the tender affection 
which fills the divine Heart towards those I loved. I also 
see, in a manner incomprehensible to you, how good 
are the designs of Providence: in that God leaves man 
certain defects which give him cause for humbling himself 
and for making efforts, so making each day progress in 
the way of salvation. And so I could not have the thought 
of any will other than that of the almighty wisdom and 
tender goodness of my sweet and loving Lord, in which 
He has desired for each one according to His good 
pleasure. All I can do, in considering the admirable 
ways of the divine goodness, is to spend myself in praise 
and thanksgiving." 

This reply was for St. Gertrude a consolation and en 
couragement. A consolation: she was immeasurably 
loved by the Sacred Heart. An encouragement : she must 
bear her defects and combat lovingly to the end. 

The day following at the first Mass, which was a 
Requiem Mass, the elect of God appeared to her; she 
seemed drawing from the Heart of our Lord with golden 
tubes. In this way those who had a special devotion 
to her drew from the divine Heart all they desired. They 
seemed to be saying these or similar words : " By the love 
which made Thee grant so many favours to Thy beloved 
Mechtilde, or to any other Saint, and by Thy will to 
grant grace to whomsoever it may be on earth or in 
heaven; hear me, sweet Lord Jesus Christ, by her merits 
and those of Thy elect." 

During the Mass which followed that of the burial, 
Mechtilde appeared as one settled in the divine Heart, 



THE SACRED HEART AND DEATH 105 

using this Heart as a lyre of which she touched four 
strings, making a delicious melody in several parts, melody 
of praise, thanksgiving, loving complaint and prayer. 

The last vision with which St. Gertrude was favoured 
about her holy friend resumed all her teaching: zeal for 
the divine praise and love for the Sacred Heart. Mech- 
tilde always appeared to be resting in the Heart of Christ, 
and she left it to come and meet Gertrude, showing 
herself to be in the brightness of glory, clothed with a 
dazzling garment that seemed covered with diamonds, 
some shining like stars and others clear as a mirror. 
Gertrude asked what more she desired from her Order. 
" Above all," she said, " I desire the praise of my Lord. 
You could do nothing that would give me greater happi 
ness than to praise Him unceasingly. He has placed me 
among His Saints who please Him most by praising Him 
best." 

Gertrude replied : " How are we to praise God in you ?" 
Mechtilde replied: "Perform all your actions with the 
same purity of intention and perfect love that I always 
had for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Do 
this when you enter the choir to pray or to sing. Do the 
same when you go to sleep or take your meals, and the 
same for everything else. Do all your actions for me, to 
the praise of my Beloved, and in that you will find your 
salvation." 

Gertrude continued: "What do you gain for the 
praises we offer to God for you?" She replied: "A 
special embrace which renews all my joy and happiness." 
And Gertrude saw three rays of light which came from 
the divine Heart and illuminated Mechtilde and all the 
Saints. These turning to our Lord sang: "We praise 
Thee for the everlasting beauty of Thy spouse, for the 
delight Thou takest in her, and for the perfect union 
which makes her one with Thee." 

Gertrude, seeing that our Lord took pleasure in these 



io6 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

praises, said to Him: "Why, O Lord, dost Thou take 
so great a pleasure in being praised in this soul?" He 
answered: "Because while living she desired above all 
things to see Me praised. She has kept this desire, and 
I come to satisfy her with My ceaseless praise (et hanc 
incessabili laude mea cupio satiare)." 

On the feast of St. Catherine, Mechtilde came to the 
choir with our Lord, as if to direct the singing according 
to custom. And as St. Gertrude was astonished and 
said to her: " Is there anything you would like to ask of 
your sisters?" she replied: "Rejoice ardently together 
in your Beloved; His love surrounds you with as much 
tenderness and affection as that of a mother with her 
only child. She would always wish it to be resting on 
her breast. He also protects you against all that might 
prove harmful. God, who loves you so much, wishes you 
always to remain attached to Him, and never to forsake 
Him. If you leave Him, He will send sorrows so that 
you may return to Him; so does a faithful mother act. 
She chastises her child if it leave her and fall, to teach it 
not to leave her. In the same way a mother finds great 
joy in the tender, loving words of her child, so does your 
Spouse desire of you. Therefore give Him your hearts, 
since He is Father, Lord and Spouse and Friend and all 
in all to you." 

The last words Gertrude understood by a divine inspira 
tion; since He is our Father, we ought to go to Him for 
all we need; since He is our Lord, we must place in Him 
all our hope; since He is our Spouse, we must love Him 
with all our heart and soul; and since He is our Friend, 
we must tell Him with great confidence all our pains and 
necessities and look for consolation from Him only. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 
THE SACRED HEART AND PURGATORT 

THE Sacred Heart does not abandon the souls that 
have during their lives been devout to it, even 
amidst the flames of purgatory. He Himself begs 
for suffrages and prayers for them. In the resurrection 
of Lazarus He rewarded the faith and confidence of the 
two sisters. With what delicate skill did our Lord lead 
Martha and Mary to believe in His power and goodness. 
And when they said: " I have believed that Thou art 
Christ, the Son of the living God, who art come into this 
world," He went at once and called Lazarus from corrup 
tion: "Lazarus, come forth." 

Mechtilde fulfilled this role during her lifetime. The 
soul of a Brother had been recommended to her prayers. 
She did not trouble to remember him. She received a 
direct inspiration from heaven, and yet did not obey. 
Our Lord spoke severely to her: " So thou wilt not allow 
Me to satisfy for My friend by thee." Then taking her 
by the hand, He said: " Come, and I will introduce thee 
into the admirable tabernacle of My house." She was 
ravished into heaven, and there the soul of this brother 
appeared to her, standing before our Lord, adorned by 
five rays which came from the divine Heart. 

The first ray entered his eyes. It signified the know 
ledge which had adorned nis life, and which led him 
ceaselessly to contemplate God in the glory of the divinity. 
The second ray entered his ears. It signified the joy with 
which he received the words and tender greetings which 
were ceaselessly spoken to him by God. The third ray 
entered his mouth, to signify the ineffable praise of God 

107 



ro8 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

which never ceased coming from his mouth. The fourth 
ray filled his heart. It signified the marvellous sweetness, 
joy and delight with which heavenly favours filled him. 
The fifth ray inundated and illuminated his body with 
ineffable brightness, showing that in all his members and 
with all his strength he had been devoted to good works 
and to the practice of virtue. 

Then Mechtilde, filled with admiration, said to our 
Lord: "My sweetest Lord, why hast Thou taken this 
soul so soon out of the world, where his words and example 
might have done good to so many ?" Our Lord replied: 
" His ardent desire constrained Me. As a child separated 
from his mother s breast, he was drawn to Me; so he 
deserved to come so soon and rest in Me. He had 
worked so hard and would receive so great glory that his 
admission had to be a little delayed. During this time 
I made him rest on My Heart." She asked: " O loving 
Lord, how long did he rest thus ?" " Just one morning," 
answered our Lord, " during which love accomplished 
in him what it had designed for him from all eternity." 

How consoling ! Purgatory might be passed in the 
Heart of Jesus if only we were as much attached to Him 
as a child to its mother s breast. From the Sacred Heart 
come the rays that purify souls and prepare them for the 
glory of heaven. From the Sacred Heart come the 
inspirations to help the faithful departed. But all souls 
do not spend their purgatory on the breast of Jesus. 

Mechtilde was allowed one day to witness the torments 
by which some unhappy souls were purified, each suffering 
according to the faults it had committed. But the 
greatest suffering was the privation of the sight of God. 
"Do you suffer pain?" she inquired of a young man 
recently deceased. " No," he replied, " except that I 
do not yet see my loving Lord. So great is my desire 
to do so that the united desires of all men would seem 
nothing in comparison." 



THE SACRED HEAR? AND PURGATORY 109 

The want of God is therefore the greatest torment of 
these souls. So Mechtilde made every effort to enable 
them to enter into the presenqe of this God so ardently 
longed for. It had been said to her: " The prayer of a 
pure soul, offered to God with love, flows into the divine 
Heart as very limpid water, and is very efficacious." 

Our Lord said to her one day after Holy Communion : 
" Say the Our Father for the dead in union with the 
intention My heart had in teaching it to men." By these 
words she was enlightened to know that the Pater ought 
to be recited with the following intentions : At the first 
words, Pater noster qui es in caeHs, we ought to ask pardon 
for souls who have committed faults against a Father 
so adorable and loving, who by pure goodness has raised 
men to the great honour of being the sons of God 

(1) in not loving Him with sufficient respect; (2) in not 
giving Him the honour due to Him; (3) in driving Him 
from their hearts where He wishes to reign as in heaven. 
Christians then pray in union with their innocent Brother, 
Jesus Christ, who offered for these souls His penances, 
full of love and satisfaction. Through Him the Father 
receives in reparation for these sins the love of His Heart 
offered in His human nature with so great honour and 
reverence. 

Sanctificetur nomen tuum, " Hallowed be Thy Name," 
to repair and supply (i) what was wanting in their 
reverence for the Name of God and so great a Father; 

(2) the fault of having taken this Name in vain, or of 
having thought so seldom of it; (3) the fault of having 
shown themselves by their evil lives unworthy of this 
holy Name, though they are called Christians. The 
heavenly Father is then begged to accept the perfect 
sanctity of His Son, who magnified His holy Name in 
His preaching and glorified Him in all the works of His 
holy humanity. 

Adveniat regnum tuum "Thy kingdom come." Here 



no THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

forgiveness is asked for souls (i) who have never desired 
enough the kingdom of God or God Himself, in whom 
alone is true rest and eternal joy; (2) for those who have 
never sought it diligently. The heavenly Father is 
petitioned to receive the very holy desires of His loving 
Son to have them for heirs to His kingdom in reparation 
for the coldness these souls have shown for all that is good. 

Fiat voluntas tua sicut in ccelo et in terra, " Thy will be 
done on earth as it is in heaven." We should say these 
words to repair their faults (i) of not having preferred 
God s will to their own ; (2) for not having loved it in all 
things. We must beg our heavenly Father to accept, 
in reparation for their disobedience, the union of the very 
holy Heart of His Son with His very perfect obedience, 
for He became obedient unto death. Mechtilde under 
stood from these words, " Thy will be done," that religious 
persons often sinned (i) in very rarely offering to God 
their whole will; (2) in often drawing it back, and that it 
was very necessary, at these words, to make mention of 
them, as many were kept separated from God after death 
through this negligence. 

Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie " Give us 
this day our daily bread." The faults to be repaired are 
(i) not having received with sufficient desire, devotion, 
and love the Blessed Sacrament, so great and so necessary 
for them; (2) that many have rendered themselves un 
worthy to receive it; (3) that some have rarely or never 
received it. We should beg our heavenly Father to regard 
the ardent love, ineifable desires, perfect sanctity and 
devotedness with which Jesus Christ gave us this magnifi 
cent and perfect gift. 

Et dimitte nobis debita nostra " And forgive us our 
trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us." 
At these words we should ask forgiveness (i) for all sins 
committed, mortal sins and those caused by them; (2) for 
the many who have been unwilling to forgive offences 



THE SACRED HE AM AND PURGATORT in 

.committed against themselves; (3) for those who have 
not loved their enemies. We ought to beg Almighty God 
in reparation for these faults to accept the prayer, full 
of chanty, with which His Son prayed for His enemies. 

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem " And lead us not into 
temptation." The real evil for these souls is that they 
did not resist their vices and concupiscences, but were so 
often led by the devil and their own evil inclinations, 
throwing themselves wilfully into all kinds of evil. We 
pray our heavenly Father to accept in atonement and 
reparation for these faults the glorious victory won by 
Christ over the devil and the world during His most 
holy life, in His labours and different sufferings. We 
finish by supplicating Him to deliver them from all 
evils, and conduct them to the kingdom of glory, which 
is Himself. Amen. 

When Mechtilde had finished this prayer she saw an 
immense number of souls, full of joy, giving thanks for 
their deliverance. This was no doubt owing to the merits 
and fervour of the holy spouse of the Sacred Heart; 
but even of itself this prayer is most efficacious, for by it 
we offer the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart. It is 
our duty to pray often to God, through the divine Heart, 
on behalf of the souls kept by the justice of God in the 
expiatory flames. 

On All Souls Day our Lord appeared to Mechtilde in all 
the brightness of His beauty, bearing three precious jewels 
on His breast. The first signified the eternal desire with 
which God is always filled for souls. The second, the 
insatiable love of His divine Heart for man, for even 
though man remain cold and insensible, the love of the 
divine Heart is unchangeable, and burns for him. The 
third jewel signified the joys of the divine Heart of which 
the Scripture speaks : " My delights are to be with the 
children of men." 

He then allowed her to see the souls of the dead on this 



ii2 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEAR? 

day consecrated to their remembrance. Approaching, 
He deigned to serve them Himself. Every word said 
in choir, in the lessons, all that the whole Church does for 
these souls seemed different kinds of food and drink which 
He gave them Himself. The souls were filled with great 
joy, but in their hearts there was a cruel executioner, the 
sting of conscience. Hie erat propria conscientia. 

And this worm tore and tormented them ceaselessly. 
This worm never dies in purgatory, and the soul is only 
liberated from it when it enters into the joy of its Lord 
and is united to God eternally. Then the soul hears 
this loving invitation: " From the depths of My Heart 
drink joy, and that because of those who pray for thee " 
(Elbe de medulla Cordis mei gaudium ex part? omnium pro 
te orantium). May we induce Jesus to say these sweet 
words to our dear dead, and may we hear them ourselves 
very soon after our last sigh. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 
THE SACRED HEART AND HEAVEN 

WHEN the soul of the just leaves the body, if it 
is so entirely exempt from all sin that it may at 
once enter heaven, God penetrates this happy 
soul with His divine Spirit, fills and possesses all its senses 
to such a point that He is the eye by which the soul sees, 
the light through which it sees, and the beauty which it 
perceives. So, in a manner as inexpressible as delightful, 
God, in the soul, and with the soul, contemplates Himself, 
the soul and all the Saints. 

He is also the hearing of the soul, to listen to the sweet 
words which He speaks with more than motherly love, 
to hear also the harmony of God with all the Saints. 
Through Him the soul also breathes the life-giving and 
divine breath coming from God, the sweetness of which 
surpasses all perfumes and vivifies the soul for eternity. 
He is also the taste of the soul and causes it to relish 
His sweet savour. God is also the tongue and voice of 
the soul, with which He celebrates, in the soul and for 
the soul, His praises in the most complete and elevated 
manner possible. He is the heart of the soul, charming 
and rejoicing it, Himself revelling in it and with it and 
filling it with ravishing delight. Furthermore, God is 
the life of the soul and the motive-power of all its parts, 
so that all its acts seem done by God, and in the Saints 
St. Paul s words are fulfilled: " That God may be all in 
all " (2 Cor. xv. 28). 

Has the intimate union of God with His elect ever been 
better expressed ? We have already seen how Mechtilde, 
at the moment of her death, was admitted to a mysterious 
113 8 



u 4 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

union with the Sacred Heart. If this privilege is not 
granted to all the Saints, it is at least granted to those 
who have loved the Sacred Heart. When Mechtilde s 
Sister, the Abbess Gertrude, died she took her flight into 
the marvellous and divine Sanctuary of the Heart of 
Jesus opened to her with such joy and fidelity. What 
she saw, what she heard, what she felt, what she received 
of blessedness, from the overflowing tenderness of Jesus, 
in being transported by a special privilege to such a 
resting-place, who among men could imagine ? 

With what exquisite tenderness does her Eternal 
Spouse draw her to Himself ! The daughters of the 
happy Abbess on earth joined in her bliss by singing Qu& 
pausas sub umbra Dilecti " Thou who dost rest under 
the shadow of thy Beloved. " And they could hear her 
reply: " It is not enough for me to rest in His shadow, 
it is in the very Heart of my Beloved that I rest lovingly, 
sweetly, and securely." " Then," said they, " speak for 
us all to God, since you are so full of bliss." " I beg for 
my daughters, that they too may enjoy the rest full of 
sweetness which I so securely enjoy in the dear Heart of 
our loving Jesus." 

Behold, therefore, a soul in heaven who declares that 
it is not enough for her to rest in our Divine Lord s 
shadow ! She must be hidden in His Heart. May 
infinite thanks be rendered for ever to our dear Saviour 
for having satisfied this ardent desire. He has willed to 
prepare for His elect a dwelling in the depths of His 
paternal Heart. There, throughout all eternity, they 
will see how they have been loved and gratuitously 
chosen for so great a happiness. Here below no one can 
open the heart of his friend and see there the feelings he 
entertains for him; but the elect enter into the most 
intimate secrets of the Sacred Heart; they see and taste, 
with ineffable joy, the fulness and charm of infinite love. 



CHAPTER XL 

OUR DUTT TOWARDS THE SACRED HEART: 
DEMOTION TO THE SACRED HEART 

IN her conversations with her two friends Mechtilde 
spoke from the fulness of her heart, but she had 
never dreamed of writing a book. Therefore a 
methodical manner of writing need not be expected in 
her teaching, such as one would desire in a treatise on the 
Sacred Heart, 

What one can appreciate in the Book of Special Grace 
is the depth and elevation of the doctrine taught, the 
manifestation of the feelings which filled the Sacred Heart 
during the different epochs of its life, the account of its 
dealings with the Father and with each one of us in the 
exercise of its mediatorial office. In no other place are 
these admirable secrets recounted with so much exact 
ness and magnificence. Even St. Gertrude never de 
scribed the Sacred Heart of Jesus during His mortal 
life as St. Mechtilde has done. Saint Margaret Mary 
depicted it on one occasion only i.e., in the Agony in 
the garden at Gethsemani. 

The knowledge of the Sacred Heart is a great grace, 
but it would be useless and even become a motive of con 
demnation, if it did not produce the desired fruit, that 
of the love and entire gift of our heart. To know without 
wishing tolove is to approach hell; to know, and to strive 
to love, is to approach heaven. 

Mechtilde was very near the abode of the Blessed, for 
she loved the Sacred Heart with a love her companions 
called excessive (nimia). No doubt our Blessed Lord 
constantly fed the flame of divine love in her heart, for 



Ii6 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART: 

each time He appeared He opened His Heart and gave her 
some special grace. And, after all, had she not within 
her the furnace of divine love ? The Sacred Heart had 
given itself to her, and she carried it always in her own 
heart. 

The holy Benedictine may therefore be our model in a 
true devotion to the Sacred Heart. But does the Book 
of Special Grace, which reveals to us the prerogatives of 
the divine Heart, betray also the secrets of Mechtilde s 
intercourse with it ? Are the acts of devotion practised 
in the thirteenth century in any way the same as those 
taught by St. Margaret Mary ? Are the marks of devo 
tion of the Virgin of Helfta the same as those of the 
Virgin of Paray-le-Monial ? 

We must acknowledge that St. Mechtilde s book is a 
real treasure, and Providence has amply justified the 
second title given to it by our Lord, who called it The 
Light of the Church. In reality it exacts from the soul 
devoted to the Sacred Heart all the acts of the modern 
devotion: adoration, return of love, outpouring of heart, 
gratitude, boundless confidence, even reparation for the 
outrages of which it is the victim. 

The devotion taught by St. Mechtilde to her two 
companions has also another characteristic, that of 
absorbing all religion and the whole life. She did not 
find it enough to kiss the Sacred Heart five times a day, 
as she had been taught; she would also offer to it all her 
actions, seek in it all her supernatural intentions and 
through it praise the divine majesty of God. She sought 
it in the Sacraments, in the holy tribunal of penance, at 
the Holy Mass, and above all in Holy Communion. She 
was entirely absorbed in the Sacred Heart. She no longer 
lived, the Sacred Heart lived in her. May we, like her, 
be absorbed and transformed by this Heart so loving. 



CHAPTER XLI 
THE ADORATION OF THE SACRED HEART 

TO praise, adore and glorify the Sacred Heart is 
an imperative need to a soul who knows its infinite 
perfections. Her inability to acquit herself of 
her duty worthily becomes an unspeakable torment. 

" If I could," says St. Mechtilde to our Lord, " I would 
bend all knees before Thee, my sweet and faithful Friend 
in heaven, on earth and in hell." 

Our Lord replied with His usual goodness : " Ask Me 
to accomplish this wish Myself, for in Me are all creatures ; 
and when I come before My Father to fulfil the office 
of praise and thanksgiving, I am bound to supply perfectly 
for Myself and in Myself all that is wanting in creatures. 
My goodness could not suffer that the desire of any faith 
ful soul, which it could not itself accomplish, should 
remain unsatisfied." 

What a consolation for a soul burning with zeal for the 
Sacred Heart ! The Heart of Jesus accomplishes itself 
the soul s desires and supplies for its powerlessness. And 
that is not all. One day when Mechtilde went to 
honour her Well-beloved with great love He said to her: 
" When thou dost salute Me, I salute thee in My turn; 
when thou dost praise Me, I praise Myself in thee; and 
,when thou givest thanks, I also, in thee and by thee, 
return thanks to God the Father." She then said: 
" My Well-beloved, with what salutation dost Thou 
address my soul? I do not perceive it." He replied: 
" My salutation is no other than My great love for the 
soul. A mother caresses her child on her knee, teaching 
him to repeat the words he must use in saluting and 
speaking to her. Even if the child does not do this of 
himself, but only because his mother has taught him, 

117 



ii8 7HE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

she receives with a mother s heart what he says, and 
sometimes rewards him with her embrace. I also teach 
the soul by My inspirations and love to salute Me. When 
it does what it can in its small way, I accept that according 
to the greatness of My paternal affection, returning to 
the soul its salutation and giving it My grace, without, 
however, this being perceived by the soul." 

So when we would glorify the Sacred Heart it glorifies 
itself in us; and it does not value the praise from our 
lips for what it is worth, but for the immense love Jesus 
bears us and for what He adds thereunto Himself. 

St. Mechtilde was enabled to understand this delightful 
mystery. She saw one day a wonderful harmonious 
instrument coming out of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
She then leaned on the breast of her Well-beloved, using 
all her strength to praise Him in Himself and through 
Himself. The more she praised Him thus united to Him, 
the more her strength failed her, and that to annihilation. 
As wax melted before the fire, she felt melted and merged 
in God in a blissful union, close and inseparable. In 
that moment how she longed that all in heaven and on 
earth should together participate in the grace of God ! 

If we ask the Sacred Heart with what we are to praise 
it, Jesus answers, with all He has poured of praise into 
the Heart of His Father, with all He has poured of love 
into the Heart of His Mother, and with all He exhibited 
of heroism on the Cross. 

One Holy Saturday when she would embalm with her 
adoration the body of her Beloved, He said to her: " Take 
the ineffable sweetness which eternally has flowed from 
My divine Heart into the Father and the Holy Spirit, 
take the sweetness which filled more than any other heart 
the virginal heart of My Mother; take the devotedness 
which, before My Passion, urged Me with the greatest 
desire and most ardent love. With these perfumes thou 
mayest embalm Me worthily." 



CHAPTER XLII 
THE OFFERING OF OUR HEARTS 

I. How our Lord wants us to give Him our Hearts* 

EBE, fili mi, cor tuum mihi " My child, give 
e thy heart." This is all the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus asks from men in return for His love, His 
sufferings and His grace. 

Our Lord gives us His divine Heart in order to receive 
from us the gift of our hearts. If we give them with joy 
and confidence, God will guard them so powerfully that 
we shall not fall into grievous sin. We should therefore 
strive to increase our knowledge of the Heart of Jesus, 
and seek to please Him more. In sadnesss we should 
take refuge with confidence near this treasure which is 
bestowed on us, and seek therein our consolation. 

The offering of our heart to Jesus is therefore a pledge 
of perseverance, but it is also in itself one of the greatest 
joys to His Sacred Heart. As the eagle always seeks in 
its prey the choicest morsel, the heart, so our Lord always 
seeks the heart, asking us to give Him this choice morsel. 

Mechtilde, understanding this desire, could only ex 
claim : " O most loving Lord, with what burning desire 
would I wish to offer Thee my heart!" 

And Jesus at once taking Mechtilde s heart into His 
hands inhaled the odour as of a sweet-scented rose. And 
she said : " What scent can you find in that which contains 
no good ?" and our Lord replied: " Being Myself in thy 
soul, it is My sweetness which is breathed forth from thee. 
I am the Creator of the whole world, and have no need 
of any reward, but thou art thyself My reward, for My 

119 



120 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

heavenly Father has given thee to Me as My spouse and 
daughter." 

Mechtilde then said : " Why, O loving Lord, dost Thou 
deal so with me who have nothing of good in me ?" 

He replied: " Solely because, through my goodness, 
I have placed in thee the delight of My Heart." 



//. How we should offer our Hearts to Jesus. 

It was Pentecost Sunday and they sang at the offertory 
Tibi afferent reges munera " Kings shall offer Thee their 
gifts," and Mechtilde said to our Lord: "What shall 
I offer to Thee, now, O well-beloved of my heart, for I 
have nothing worthy of Thee ? Worldly people give 
Thee of their goods : Religious offer themselves, devoting 
themselves entirely." Our Lord answered: "Offer thy 
heart in five different ways, and it will be to Me a very 
agreeable offering. In the first place, offer it as the 
pledge of espousals, with all the fidelity of which it is 
capable, and beg of Me by the love of My Heart to purify 
it from all the stains of its unfaithfulness. Offer it also 
as a jewel, and make this offering as joyfully as if thou 
didst enjoy all happiness and didst renounce it for Me. 
Offer it also as a crown, adding to it all the honour thou 
mayst acquire in this world and even in the next, so as 
to have Me only for thy glory and crown. Offer it as a 
golden cup, out of which I may drink My own sweetness, 
and lastly offer it as a dish, on which exquisite food is 
served for Me to feed upon Myself. 

" This offering ought to be frequently renewed. The 
Sacred Heart expects it at least daily .? On rising in the 
morning give Me thy heart, so that I may pour My love 
into it." 

And the Sacred Heart appeared to her open and as 
large as the palms of her two hands, like a burning flame. 



THE OFFERING OF OUR HEARTS 121 

Then our Lord said to her: " It is so I would wish to see 
the hearts of all men, burning with the fire of love." 

And the Sacred Heart does not leave us alone amidst 
the turmoil of the world and business. It follows us. 
" Thou canst never find thyself surrounded by so great 
a crowd that thou art not alone with Me, if only thou 
turn thyself to Me with all thy heart." 

Let us now listen to the Virgin of Helfta explaining 
this lesson of the perpetual life of love, or union with the 
Sacred Heart of our Lord: "When a man is alone let 
him continually raise his heart to God, speaking tenderly 
to Him, and, with frequent sighs, desiring ardently to 
possess Him. By this continual conversation with God 
his heart will be inflamed with divine love. If he is with 
others, let him turn his thoughts to God as much as he 
can ; let him speak willingly of God to them, and so he 
will enkindle in them the fire of divine love. In the 
same way let him do all his actions for God and for His 
glory, and what he should not or cannot do, let him 
abstain from, also for the love of God. As to troubles 
or contradictions, let him accept them generously for the 
love of God and bear them patiently. 

But if the loving soul gives itself to the Sacred Heart, 
will not the Sacred Heart give itself to him ? Mechtilde 
wished to know the answer to this question. " Lord," 
she said, " when I pray or chant the psalms, what dost 
Thou do ?" " I listen, but when thou dost sing I unite 
My voice to thine; when thou dost labour I take My 
repose, and the more thou dost labour with zeal and 
solicitude, the more sweetly I rest in thee. When thou 
dost eat I labour, and then I nourish Myself of thee and 
thou of Me; and when thou sleepest I watch and guard." 




CHAPTER XLIII 
THE OUTPOURINGS OF THE HEART 

OD," says the prophet, "is a jealous God." 
Even so is the Heart of the Son of God made 
man. He wants our hearts entirely for Himself 
alone. On this condition alone will He give us His 
choice graces. The lover of souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, 
desires with a great desire to draw the soul to Himself, 
particularly if it longs to be consoled by Him and to 
participate in His graces to such a degree as to be willing 
to reject all consolation from creatures and all joy that 
does not draw or urge it on in the love of God. Whatever 
a man loves, or whatever he may have received, he owes 
all to God, who wishes thereby to draw man to love Him 
alone. If, therefore, the soul feels it is making no progress 
in the love of God, that the thought of some loved object 
returns more frequently to the mind than the thought 
of God, let it turn its thoughts away from that object, 
if it does not wish to be deprived of God s loving friend 
ship. This friendship is excessively delicate and cannot 
bear anything to be considered above it, nor even on a 
level with it. Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of paternal 
charity, desires to be the Well-beloved of our hearts. 
This love without alloy and without division is the 
greatest of the joys of the Sacred Heart, exceeding the 
joy it receives from our praise and thanksgiving. 

The Virgin, who personified love to Mechtilde, took 
her to our Lord. She, leaning on the wound of the 
Sacred Heart of our Saviour, which was her all, drew 
from it long draughts of mildness and kindness, which 
changed all her bitterness into sweetness and her fear 
into security. She took also from the sweet Heart of 

122 



THE OUTPOURINGS OF THE HEART 123 

Christ the continual praise which proceeds from the 
Sacred Heart: for all God s praise comes from this Heart, 
which is the pure source from which all good flows. 
She took also a second fruit, which was that of thanks 
giving, for, in reality, the soul can do nothing of itself 
if God does not prevent it with His grace. 

Our Lord then said to her: " I expect from thee, more 
than from all others, that thou shouldst give me a fruit." 
She replied: " And what is this fruit, dear Lord ?" " It 
is that thou shouldst refer all that delights thy heart 
to Me only." " O my only Well-beloved, how shall I 
do this ?" " My love will accomplish it in thee." Then 
in a transport of gratitude she cried out: " Oh yes, yes, 
love, love, love !" 

Our Lord added : " My love shall be thy mother, and 
as children draw milk from their mother s breast, so thou 
shalt drink from the breast of this mother interior con 
solation and unutterable sweetness, and this mother shall 
nourish thee, quench thy thirst, clothe thee and provide 
for all thy necessities, as a mother would do for her only 
daughter." 

While praying, with a heart full of fervour, desiring 
the Well-beloved of her soul, she suddenly felt herself 
powerfully drawn by divine grace; she seemed to see her 
self sitting at our Saviour s side. And our Lord clasping 
her soul to His Sacred Heart filled it with His grace. It 
seemed to her that it flowed into all her members. Love 
said to her soul: " Enter into the joy of thy Lord." And 
at these words she entered into an ecstasy. As a drop 
of water in wine cannot be distinguished from the wine, 
so this* blessed soul, lost in God, became one spirit with 
Him. In this union her soul annihilated itself, but God 
consoled it, saying: " I will shower all my gifts down on 
thee; rest here, leaning on the Heart of Him who loves 
thee." 

Happy a thousand times the souls who find their rest 



1 24 THE LOFE OF THE SACRED HEART 

on the Sacred Heart of Jesus ! And shall we poor 
sinners be for ever deprived of this happiness f Let us 
ask our Blessed Lady how we may make ourselves worthy 
and so testify our love for her beloved Son. 

Mechtilde asked the Mother of God one day to obtain 
for her the grace to be cleansed from all her sins in the 
living waters of the divine Heart. Immediately the 
Blessed Virgin took her into her arms and led her to the 
divine Heart; her soul embraced the Heart of Jesus five 
times. 

At the first embrace, she felt herself purified from all 
her stains. At the second, she felt that the true peace 
of our Lord was given her. At the third, she received 
the gift of a special sweetness as to a most dear friend. 
At the fourth, she was transported into the divine Heart, 
where shesawand recognized all the elect and all creatures. 
And our Lord said: " What wilt thou or canst thou desire 
more ? Now all that constitutes the joy of heaven is 
thine." At the fifth, it seemed to her that she was sitting 
with our Lord at a table sumptuously served and that 
she was eating with Him. 

So we see a soul that is drawn to the Heart of Jesus 
by love to give proofs of its affection finds itself over 
whelmed by numberless favours. It came bringing the 
offering of its love, and it carries away with it the treasures 
of the Sacred Heart. Continue, O Jesus, to treat us as a 
mother treats her child. For if Thou dost seek in our 
hearts for the generosity of the Saints, steeped in Thy 
love, Thou wilt never be able to open Thy Heart to all 
the children of Adam. 



CHAPTER XLIV 
REPARATION FOR SIN 

THE Sacred Heart was particularly honoured in 
the Monastery of Helfta by a return of love, the 
imitation of its virtues, by perfect praise and by 
thanksgiving. Reparation was not, however, unknown, 
and the inmates strove to repair the insults offered to it. 
At the time of the Carnival Mechtilde macerated her flesh 
till the blood flowed, offering this slight reparation to 
her Well-beloved for all the excesses and wickedness of 
the world. And our Lord, several times, said He loved 
to rest on Mechtilde s heart, where He could forget the 
pain caused Him by other hearts. It was the Sacred 
Heart just as Margaret Mary was to know it. 

One day our Lord appeared to Mechtilde as though 
suspended, with hands and feet tied, and said to her: 
" Every time a man sins mortally he ties Me thus, and as 
long as he perseveres in his sin he keeps Me in this torture." 
He had already complained of being so ill-treated in His 
Church. Three things particularly grieved Him: the 
clergy did not study the Holy Scriptures in the right 
way, but made it contribute to their vanity; Religious 
neglected interior things and gave all their attention to 
things exterior; the people took no care to hear the 
word of God nor to receive the Sacraments of Holy 
Church. 

Mechtilde asked our Lord to teach her how she could 
offer satisfaction to Him for the many members of the 
Church who at this time (it was Quinquagesima Sunday) 
showered so many insults on Him. Our Lord replied: 
" Say 350 times the anthem: Tibi laus, tibi gloria, tibi 
gratiarum actio, beata Trinitasl To thee be praise, 

125 



126 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

to thee glory, to thee thanksgiving, O blessed Trinity, 
in reparation for all the indignities offered Me by those 
who are My members." 

We see, therefore, that already Mechtilde was intent 
on oifering reparation for the sins of others. But, above 
all others, she thought of her own sins. One day when 
she was grieving over the uselessness of her past life, she 
offered herself to live if possible in ceaseless sorrow and 
to suffer on earth to the uttermost. 

Our Lord said to her: " To repair thy omissions and 
make up for the past, praise My Heart for its divine 
goodness. It is the source and origin of all good, and 
every blessing flows from it. Then praise My Heart for 
the numberless graces which have flowed, flow now, and 
shall for ever flow, on all the Saints and on all the souls 
that shall be saved. Afterwards praise My Heart for all 
the sweetness which, so many times, has sprung from My 
loving Heart and flowed into thine, intoxicating it with 
heavenly delight." 

Once, on Good Friday, at the time when she was going 
to kiss the Cross, by a divine inspiration she said: " Be 
hold, Lord, all my desires. I attach them to Thy Cross, 
and I submit them all to Thy desires, so that, completely 
purified and perfectly sanctified by this union, they may 
never incline again to earthly things." 

At the wound of the right hand our Lord said to her: 
" Hide here thy spiritual treasures, so that all the negli 
gences thou hast committed while wearing the religious 
habit may be fully repaired by My riches." 

At the left hand He said: " Place here all thy sorrows 
and pains; united to My sufferings they will be sweet 
and exhale an agreeable odour before God; as a garment 
impregnated with musk or any other scent, spreading 
abroad a sweet perfume, or as a piece of bread dipped in 
honey tasting of sweetness." 

At the wound in His Heart He said : " This wound is so 



REPARATION FOR SIN 127 

large that it embraces heaven and earth and all they 
contain ; come, place thy love near to My divine love, that 
it may be perfected and so blended with it as to become 
one only love, as iron is identified with the fire." 

The servant of God prayed for a person who liad 
complained to her of the sorrow she felt because she did 
not love God enough and did not serve Him with enough 
devotion. She was herself also filled with sorrow at the 
thought, feeling herself in every way useless, having 
received such great blessings from God and yet loving 
Him so poorly. Our Lord answered her: " Come, My 
well-beloved, be not sad; all that is Mine is also thine." 
" If, therefore," said Mechtilde, " all that is Thine is 
mine, I possess also Thy love, for Thou hast said Thyself 
by St. John, God is love* (John iv. 16). I offer Thee, 
then, this love, that it may supply for all that is wanting 
in me." 

Our Lord accepted this offering with pleasure, and said 
to her: "Thou must always do this; when thou dost 
desire to praise or to love Me without being able always 
to fulfil thy desire, thou shalt say: * Good Jesus. I praise 
Thee; supply, I beg of Thee, all that is wanting to me. 
If thou desirest to love thou shalt say: * Good Jesus, I 
love Thee; in order to supply what is wanting to my love, 
I beg of Thee to offer to Thy Father for me the love of 
Thy Heart. Also tell the person for whom thou hast 
prayed to do the same. If she does it a thousand times 
a day, her offering shall each time be presented to the 
Father, for it could never tire or weary Me." 

What a magnificent occupation for the Sacred Heart 
to offer itself to the Father every time that we wish it in 
order to supply for our defective praise and love ! Thus 
does it heal a delicate wound in a loving heart, zealous 
for God s glory. 

" I am come with all My divine power," Jesus said to 
her one day, " to heal the wounds which cause you pain." 



128 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

Mechtilde said, within herself: "Oh, if He would offer 
for Me an act of full and complete praise to God the 
Father, how happy I should be." 

Answering her thought our Lord said: " In what does 
the praise of God consist, if not in a lamentation of the 
soul that it can never praise Him as it desires ? And the 
desires, devotion, prayer and good will that a soul has to 
do good, all this is a sorrowful lamentation, and when I 
come to supply for it Myself, I heal it of all its wounds." 

But this was not enough for Mechtilde. It did not 
suffice that our Lord said to her: "Do not trouble, I 
will pay all thy debts and I will supply for all thy negli 
gences." She could not be consoled for having so 
wastefully squandered the gifts God had given her, for 
having loved Him so coldly, and for having been so un 
faithful to Him who had been so faithful to her and to all. 
The Sacred Heart, however, had the last word, and it was 
adorable: " Even if thou wert perfectly faithful to Me, 
thou shouldst infinitely prefer that My love should repair 
thy negligences rather than that thou shouldst do it, 
so that My love may have the honour and glory." 



CHAPTER XLV 



AL the graces we have ever received have flowed 
from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is the love 
burning there that caused Him to bestow them on 
us so abundantly. 

From the Sacred Heart flowed the Precious Blood that 
merited these graces for us during the Passion. So 
gratitude is a duty for the disciple of the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, and with St. Mechtilde we should say: " What 
thanksgiving, O source of all sweetness, should be paid 
Thee for that loving wound received by Thee on the Cross 
for man ? Victorious love pierced Thy loving Heart 
with a dart, and for our healing water and blood gushed 
forth. And Thou also, conquered by the love Thou 
hadst for Thy spouse, didst die of love." 

The Blessed Virgin, safe guide of grateful souls, will 
teach us our duty: " Draw nigh and kiss the wounds 
my Son received for love of thee. But kiss thrice His 
loving Heart, thanking Him for having given Himself, 
now and for ever, to thee and to all the elect." 

And our good Mother continues offering us the other 
wounds of her well-beloved Son. " In kissing the 
wound in His right hand, thank Him for having helped 
and co-operated in all thy good works. At the left hand 
thank Him that He will always be for thee an assured 
refuge. Kiss also the wound in His right foot in thanks 
giving for the ardent desire which caused Him to thirst 
after thee, all His life. Kiss gratefully also the wound in 
His left foot, for there thou shalt always find forgiveness 
for thy sins." 

It is a pious practice often to press our lips to the wound 
129 9 



130 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

of His most sweet Heart, from which springs for us re 
freshing water and inebriating wine viz., the Blood of 
Christ and, with it, all graces in an infinite number; but 
in order to please the Sacred Heart we should also add a 
continual remembrance of it. " Let men meditate with 
profound gratitude, and keep always in their memory the 
acts of virtue I practised while on earth, all the sufferings 
and injuries I bore during thirty-three years, the destitu 
tion in which I received the affronts I had to bear from 
My own creatures, and at last My death on the Cross, 
that most bitter death borne for love of man. By it, 
I bought his soul with My Precious Blood to make it 
My spouse. Let each one have as much love and 
gratitude for all these benefits as if I had suffered them 
for his salvation alone." 

Such thanksgiving is a joy to the Sacred Heart and 
profitable to ourselves. This joy and profit cannot be 
better expressed than by the following passage : Mechtilde 
thanked our Lord for His sacred wounds, begging Him to 
wound her soul with as many wounds as He had received 
in His holy body. Our Lord then said to her : " As often 
as a man grieves in his soul over the memory of My 
Passion, so often does he seem to lay a sweet rose on My 
wounds. From this wound will go forth a dart of love 
to pierce his soul with a saving wound." 

" O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we lay on Thy wound this 
rose of gratitude, but in return pierce our hearts with the 
dart of Thy love." 



CHAPTER XLVI 
CONFIDENCE 

y^ONFIDENCE in the Sacred Heart is only a 

practical faith in its love and infinite goodness. 
^-^ If this confidence relates to the past, it can be 
defined as a sweet experience of the help of the Sacred 
Heart in our needs. It then assumes the character of 
gratitude. 

If this confidence relates to the future, it is the pro 
found certainty of the faithfulness of the Sacred Heart 
in helping us and fulfilling all its promises. 

If this confidence relates to the present, it is an actual 
and lively feeling of the goodness of the Sacred Heart 
in all circumstances, even that of our own unworthiness. 
" If He kill me, I will yet hope in Him," said holy Job. 

Confidence, then, places the soul in a particular attitude 
towards the Sacred Heart. Like to that of a child to 
wards its father, it relies on him for its nourishment, 
for its clothing, for its education, for its future. It 
feels itself and its destiny to be entirely at its father s 
disposal, but as it believes firmly in the goodness of its 
father s heart, it expects all from him and rests in peace. 
Such is the state of a soul who really trusts the Sacred 
Heart. It expects all from it, bread for soul and body, 
forgiveness of its sins, strength to fight the battles of life, 
deliverance from all evil, and it also expects choice graces 
and iavours of predilection. 

Notwithstanding its repeated falls, it hopes still in the 
infinite tenderness of the Sacred Heart. And this because 
its confidence does not rest on its own merits, but on the 
infinite love of God. " His Heart," says Mechtilde, 
" is simple as that of a dove. It never changes in its 



132 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

feelings of goodness for man, even though he is so often 
unfaithful." Too often those who profess piety are luke 
warm and feel no love; but the love of the divine Heart 
is always unchangeable and burning for us. To inspire 
us with an absolute confidence in His Sacred Heart, Jesus 
gives us through Mechtilde this admirable lesson: 

" I will teach thee three things on which thou mayst 
meditate each day. Thou shalt gain great profit from 
them. 

" (i) In returning thanks to Me, remember the graces 
prepared for thee in the Creation and Redemption. I 
created thee to My own image and likeness. For thee 
I was made man, and after countless torments for the 
love of thee suffered a most bitter death. 

" (2) Remember with gratitude the benefits I have 
bestowed on thee, from thy birth to this present moment. 
By a choice grace I called thee from the world; many 
times I have lowered Myself to thy soul; I have filled and 
inebriated it with My grace; I have enlightened it with 
knowledge and inflamed it with love; every day I come 
to thee ready to fulfil thy desires and will. 

" (3) Remember with praise and thanksgiving the great 
gifts I am prepared to bestow on thee in heaven; the 
greatest riches, far beyond what thou canst believe or 
realize, all that thou desirest shall be there. 

" It is a great joy to Me that men expect great gifts 
from Me. If any of them expected to receive from Me 
greater rewards than he had deserved after this life and, 
if, in consequence, he thanked Me for them during his 
life, he would thus give Me so much pleasure that, no 
matter how great his faith or extraordinary his confidence, 
I would reward him beyond his merit; it is impossible 
that a man should not receive what he has believed and 
hoped for. Therefore it is good for a man to hope much 
in Me, and to place in Me all his confidence." 

Mechtilde therefore said: " O sweetest Jesus, if it is so 



CONFIDENCE 133 

pleasing to Thee that man should trust in Thee, tell me, 
I pray Thee, what I should believe of Thy ineffable good 
ness ?" 

Our Lord replied: "Thou must believe with a firm 
hope that after thy death I will receive thee as a father 
receives his well-beloved son, that I will share all that I 
have with thee, and will give thee part of Myself. 

" Further, I will receive thee as a friend receives his 
dearest friend, and I will show thee a greater love than 
friend ever received from friend. 

" I will also receive thee as a spouse receiving his newly- 
made bride whom he loves intensely, with so much 
delight and sweetness. No spouse ever multiplied for 
his bride so much tenderness as I will lavish on thee, 
filling thee with joy and inebriating thee with a torrent 
of happiness from My divinity. * 

Mech tilde replied: "What wilt Thou give to those 
who, because of these promises, trust in Thee ?" Our 
Lord answered: " I will give them a thankful heart, 
with which they will receive My gifts gratefully; I will 
give them a loving heart, with which they will love Me 
faithfully; and lastly I will give them hearts to praise 
Me as the heavenly choirs praise Me, loving and blessing 
Me always." 

Deign to give us such hearts, O Jesus ! 



CHAPTER XL VI I 

ORDINART ACTIONS DONE IN UNION WITH 
THE SACRED HEART 

TRUE devotion to the Sacred Heart leads us to 
sacrifice to it our entire selves. The soul truly 
devoted to it has only one thought, the thought 
of the Sacred Heart; one desire, to please the Sacred 
Heart; one only preoccupation, to labour, to be spent 
in one word, to live for the Sacred Heart. From this 
proceeds a delicate solicitude to consecrate to it all one s 
actions, even the most ordinary; the simple use of our 
senses and material needs, such as eating and sleeping. 

And indeed, did not the " Word made Flesh " subject 
Himself to all these weaknesses and needs of our nature 
during the thirty-three years He lived on the earth ? 
A soul full of faith knows how to find Him amidst these 
humiliations and seeming trifles as really as in the Crib, 
on Thabor, or on Calvary. I say more: He awaits it, 
so that He may teach it the dispositions it must have 
in order to be conformed to His own. 

Let us listen to Him: "On first awakening in the 
morning, salute My loving Heart, from which has flowed, 
flows, and will flow for ever, every good, every joy and 
every happiness in heaven and on earth. Strive to place 
thy heart in Mine, and to this end say: * Praise, blessing, 
glory and salvation be to Thee, O sweetest and most 
loving and faithful Heart of Jesus Christ. I thank Thee 
for having guarded and protected me during this night, 
and for having praised and thanked God the Father 
in my stead. 

" And, O Jesus, who lovest me more than any other, I 
134 



UNION WITH THE S4CRED HEART 135 

offer Thee my heart as a refreshing rose;, may its beauty 
draw on it Thy blessing during the whole of this day, 
and its perfume rejoice Thy divine Heart. I also offer 
Thee my heart as a cup from which Thou canst drink 
of Thine own sweetness, with all that Thou wilt do in me 
during this day. I also offer Thee my heart as an exquisite 
pomegranate, fit to appear on Thy royal table. I wish 
that Thou wouldst consume it in such a manner, that 
this poor heart of mine may in future joyfully know 
itself to be in Thee. I also supplicate Thee to grant 
that all my thoughts, words, works and will may be 
directed to-day according to Thy will and good pleasure. 
Make, then, the sign of the Cross, saying : In the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. 
Holy Father, in union with the love of Thy adorable Son 
I commend my spirit. And thou shalt repeat this prayer 
at the commencement of all thy actions. 

" Refer thy looks, interior as well as exterior, to divine 
wisdom, and beg it to give thee light. Refer thy ears 
to divine mercy, and beg it to preserve thee from hearing 
what might hurt thee. Offer thy mouth and voice to the 
ever faithful God, so that they may only say words of 
wisdom and be preserved from all sin. Offer thy hands 
to the good God, begging Him to unite thy actions to 
His works, to sanctify and perfect them in His own and to 
prevent thee from doing evil. Also offer thy heart to 
divine love, and beg that it may be so united to the 
Sacred Heart as to be charmed and inflamed with its love, 
and may feel no other love or joy on earth. In the same 
way, during the Mass, offer thy heart to God, and before 
the Secret purify thyself, turning thy thoughts away 
from all things of earth, preparing thyself to receive the 
stream of divine love, which flows into and fills the hearts 
of those who assist." 

Our Lord in this way recommends us with great in 
sistence always to remain united to Him, and He wishes 



136 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

to realize in some way in us St. Paul s expressive words, 
" I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me." Hence 
one day He said to His spouse: "I give thee My eyes 
that thou mayst see all things through them, My ears so 
that by them thou mayst understand all thou nearest; 
I also give thee My mouth that by it thou mayst accom 
plish all that thou hast to say, to pray or to sing; and 
lastly I give thee My Heart, so that thou mayst think by 
it, and love Me with Myself." 

At these last words our Lord absorbed the whole soul, 
and united Himself so intimately with it, that it seemed 
to see with the eyes of God, hear with His ears, speak 
by His mouth, and have no other heart than that of 
God. 

So intimate and perfect a union is a privilege of the 
few only. Yet our Lord exacts from all the ordinary 
union accomplished by a supernatural intention. 

" Man ought to unite himself to Me in all his actions 
as, for instance, if he wishes to eat or sleep, he ought to 
say in his heart : Lord, in union with the love which made 
Thee create this food for me, I take it for Thy eternal 
praise, and because I need refreshment. " 

For sleep our Lord Himself indicates the intention 
with which we ought to take it. He wishes we should 
go to sleep in drawing five sighs from His divine Heart. 

" Before sleep draw from My Heart a sigh in union 
with that praise which it dispensed in favour of all the 
Saints and as a supplement of what was owing from all 
creatures. Also a sigh in union with that gratitude which 
the Saints drew from My Heart, and which they returned 
for all the gifts I had bestowed on them. The soul 
ought, then, to sigh for its own sins and those of others, 
in union with that compassion which made Me bear the 
sins of all. It must also sigh for the love and desire it has 
to obtain for men all that is necessary for the glory of 
God and their own needs; it will thus unite itself to the 






UNION WITHgTHE SACRED HE AM 137 

divine desires I had on earth for man s salvation. Lastly, 
it must sigh in union with all the prayers which were 
poured forth from My Heart and from those of My 
Saints for the salvation of all, whether living or dead; 
it ought to desire that each breath, during the sleep of 
this night, might be accepted by Me as an incessant 
sigh. As it is impossible for Me to refuse anything to a 
loving soul, I will fill them according to the plenitude of 
My divine truth." 

How holy would one night be, if preceded by such 
sighs \ Happy the souls faithful to a perpetual union 
with the Sacred Heart. 



CHAPTER XLVIII 
DI7INE PRAISE 

THROUGH the Sacred Heart alone can we adore 
God in a manner worthy of His infinite Love. 
Nothing is more in accordance with the doctrine 
of the Church than St. Mechtilde s teaching on the part 
taken by the Sacred Heart in the divine praise. The Son 
of God made man alone offers a homage worthy of the 
Blessed Trinity; and it is through Him that Angels and 
men may praise the divine Majesty. 

This doctrine is fully expressed in the Preface of the 
Mass : " It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, 
that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks 
unto Thee, Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting 
God: through Christ our Lord. Through whom the 
Angels praise, the Dominations adore and the Powers 
fear, Thy Majesty; the Heavens also and the Heavenly 
Powers, and the Blessed Seraphim glorify it in common 
exultation. With whom, we beseech Thee, bid that our 
voices also be admitted in suppliant praise, saying: Holy, 
Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts. Full are the 
Heavens and the Earth of Thy glory: Hosanna in the 
Highest !" 

So we see that all praise reaching heaven must pass 
through the lips and Heart of Christ. 

Leaning one day on the wound of the sweet Heart of 
our Saviour, which was all hers, St. Mechtilde drew from 
it a most delicious kind of fruit and raised it to her lips. 
This signified the eternal praise which proceeds from 
this divine Heart; indeed, all divine praise comes from 
this Heart, pure source of all good. 

Mechtilde sang thanksgivings to God and prayed the 
138 



DIVINE PRAISE 139 

Son of God Himself, the youthful Spouse of all loving 
souls, to render to God the Father loving praise for so 
great and inestimable a gift. 

O admirable condescension ! The Son of God at 
once presented Himself respectfully before His heavenly- 
Father and praised His greatness in these terms : 

Ccetas in excelsis te laudat ccelicus omnis, 
Et mortalis homo et cuncta creata simul. 

" All the celestial choirs praise Thee in the highest 
And mortal man and all creatures join in the concert." 

By these words " celestial choirs " Mechtilde under 
stood that our Lord drew to Himself in one accord the 
praises of all the heavenly citizens; and by the words 
" mortal man," that He united to them the intentions 
of all men; and by " all creatures " that He united in 
Himself the substance of all creatures in order to celebrate 
the praise of God the Father. In the same way, He 
resounded for them, in the presence of God the Father, 
praise in the name of heaven, earth and hell. 

The greatest desire of the Sacred Heart is that we 
should excite in ourselves the spirit of praise and of 
adoration in spirit and truth, which He announced to the 
Samaritan woman as the mark of His true disciples. 
St. Mechtilde continued: "O sweet and loving Jesus, 
what dost Thou prefer that I should do ?" He replied: 
" Praise." Mechtilde answered : " But do Thou teach me 
to praise Thee worthily." 

She then learnt from our Lord that she should strike 
three times on the Sacred Heart. The first stroke was 
to praise the Blessed Trinity for Its infinite greatness 
and she accompanied it with these words " To Thee be 
honour and empire, to Thee glory and power, to Thee 
praise and jubilation, during eternity, O Blessed Trinity." 
At the second stroke she gave to the Sacred Heart she 
praised God for all the graces granted to the Blessed Virgin 
and to the Saints already in possession of heaven; she then 



140 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEAR? 

said: "It is just that all Thy creatures should praise, 
adore and glorify Thee, O Blessed Trinity. To Thee 
praise, glory and thanksgiving !" The third time that 
Mechtilde knocked on the Sacred Heart it was to praise 
God for all the graces He had showered on the just to 
sanctify them, on sinners to convert them, on the souls 
in purgatory who, each day, are absolved by His mercy 
and brought to the joys of heaven; and this last time she 
said: "All conies from God, in Him all live. To Him 
be glory for ever and ever ! To Thee praise Tibi 
laus /" 

After these praises her soul entered the sweet Heart 
of Jesus and there, become one with her Well-beloved, 
she saw and tasted what is not possible for man to express. 

The virgins who follow the Lamb sing a new song, 
not known to profane lips. But it is still from the Sacred 
Heart that comes the heavenly harmony. Three strings, 
like those of a harp, detached themselves, went through 
the Heart of the Immaculate Virgin, then through the 
hearts of all holy virgins and met in the Heart of Jesus. 
There also Mechtilde heard music like that from an organ , 
and she remembered the words : " There resound con 
tinually the musical instruments of the Saints." 



CHAPTER XLIX 

THE SACRED HEART ITSELF TRAINS MECH- 
TILDE IN DIVINE PRAISE 

ST. MECHTILDE had a beautiful voice, so she 
had charge of the choir in the Monastery of 
Helfta. She brought to her work both faith and 
zeal. Our Lord Himself deigned to install her in this 
important employment. 

This happened on the feast of the Annunciation. 
After humbling herself profoundly before our Lord she 
begged Him to forgive her all her sins, and by the merits 
of His holy life to supply for all her imperfections. As 
soon as she had received from our Lord the precious gift 
of forgiveness of all her sins, she felt bold enough to 
rest on the breast of Jesus, her Well-beloved. She then 
beheld, coming from the Heart of our Lord, a golden 
pipe with which she celebrated the praises of God. 

She understood and begged of our Lord to celebrate 
His own praise. At once, she heard the sweet voice of 
Christ, the divine Cantor, intone this canticle: "Give 
praise to our God, all ye His Saints " (Apoc. xix. 5). 
Our Lord gave her to understand that He alone, as God, 
was able to sing praise worthy of the Sovereign Majesty. 
For which reason, He would transform her into Himself, 
so that she might be associated with Him in the divine 
praise. 

He placed His hands on hers, giving her all the labours 
and good works of His sacred Humanity. He then 
placed His eyes with such a sweet look on St. Mechtilde s 
eyes, giving her with the merits of His holy eyes an 
abundant flow of tears. He then applied His ears to 
those of His servant, so enriching her with the merits 

141 



142 THE LOFE OF THE SACRED HEART 

of His holy ears. Then placing His mouth on hers, He 
made her share in the words of praise, the thanksgiving 
of His life and His preaching, to supply for all her negli 
gences. He then placed His most sweet Heart on 
Mechtilde s, giving her a share in His meditations, His 
acts of devotion and love, and so enriched her abundantly 
with all His treasures. In this way Mechtilde s soul 
was entirely absorbed in that of our Lord, melted by 
divine love, as wax is melted by fire. Immersed in our 
Lord she acquired His likeness, as though it had been 
engraved on her, and she became one with her Beloved. 
As the time for receiving Holy Communion drew near, 
she heard Him whom her heart loved say: " Thou in Me, 
and I in thee; never will I forsake thee." 

The only thing Mechtilde desired in this world was 
the glory of God. Seconding this desire our Lord gave 
her His Heart as a golden cup delicately chased, saying 
to her: " With My divine Heart thou shalt always praise 
Me. Go and give My Saints to drink from My Heart 
a liquor of life which will plunge them into a blessed 
intoxication. She went to the Patriarchs and to the 
Prophets to whom she gave to drink saying: " Receive 
Him whom you have so long desired and waited for; 
pray that I may desire Him with all my strength and sigh 
ceaselessly for Him, night and day." 

She then went to the Apostles, saying to them: " Re 
ceive Him whom you have loved so ardently and with 
your whole heart ; pray that I may also love Him fervently, 
above all, and with my whole heart." Then to the 
Martyrs she said: " Behold Jesus. For His love you shed 
your blood and delivered your body to death; obtain 
for me that I may generously spend myself in His service." 
She then came to the Confessors. " Receive Him," she 
said, " for whom you left all, despising the pleasures of 
this world; obtain for me, that I may despise all joys for 
His love and attain to the summit of religious perfection." 



TRAINING IN PRAISE 143 

Coming at last to the Virgins, she gave them to drink, 
saying: " Receive Him to whom you have consecrated 
your virginity, and grant that in all things I may triumph, 
through chastity of mind and body." 

Then having gone round the heavenly court she 
returned to our Lord, and He, receiving His Heart, this 
golden cup, placed it in Mechtilde s breast, who was thus 
happily united to our Lord. 

After this vision Mechtilde was able to sing the praises 
of God. It was no longer she who sang, but Jesus living 
in her. O, what a loving installation as Cantor ! You 
who, by the beauty of your voices, glorify our Lord, beg 
of Jesus a similar installation and sing with the same 
fervour and perfection. 



CHAPTER L 

THE INTENTIONS OF THE HEART OF JESUS 
IN DIVINE PR4ISE 

OUR Lord would repeat His instructions to the 
holy Benedictine on the intentions required for 
singing the divine praise. 

She complained one day of having been unfaithful. 
Jesus, laying His divine Heart on hers, said to her: " Now 
My Heart is thine, and thy heart is Mine " Nunc Cor 
meum tuum est et cor tuum meum est. And, in a sweet 
embrace, He drew her soul so intimately to Himself 
with His divine strength that in future she was only 
one spirit with Him. 

Our Lord Himself then indicated the intention she 
was to have during the Office. " At Matins, as soon as 
thou hast risen, consider respectfully how, forced by My 
love, I allowed Myself to be bound by wicked hands and 
became obedient unto death; prepare thy heart to obey 
all that shall be commanded thee, even if this day thou 
hadst to perform all the acts of obedience accomplished 
by all the Saints. 

" At Prime adore the humility with which I appeared 
before the most unworthy of judges as a most meek Lamb 
to be judged; then submit thyself to every creature for 
My sake, and be ready to perform the lowest and most 
degrading work. 

" At Tierce consider the love which caused Me to be 
despised, spit upon and covered with opprobrium; then 
despise thyself and hold thyself in low estimation. 

" At Sext, that the world may be crucified to thee and 
thou to the world, consider how I was fastened to the 

144 



UNION OF INTENTIONS 145 

Cross for thee; therefore all the pleasures and joys of the 
world should be for thee nothing but a bitter cross. 

" At None die to the world and every creature. 
Consequently the bitterness of My death should be 
sweetness to thy heart, and every creature as such inspire 
thee with contempt and disgust. 

" At Vespers, the hour when I was taken down from the 
Cross, remember that after death and the end of thy 
labours, thou shalt rest in a blessed repose in My Heart. 

** At Compline think of that blessed union when, 
become one spirit with Me, thou shalt enjoy Me fully. 
This union will begin by the submission of thy will to 
Mine, in prosperity as in adversity, and will be perfect 
on the day on which thou shalt enter into the glory which 
shall never end." 

Mechtilde often said: "Teach me to praise Thee." 
And our Lord always replied: " Consider My Heart. "^ 



10 



CHAPTER LI 
THE SACRED HEART AND CONFESSION 

THE Sacrament of Penance is the most merciful 
invention of divine love. There are hidden 
all the treasures of satisfaction amassed by Jesus 
on Calvary, and when they please all sinners may 
come to take what they need. Whatever their crimes 
may be, they will return purified, holy with the holiness 
of Jesus Christ Himself, rich with the drops of His blood, 
as Magdalen was formerly at the foot of the Cross. 

With this Sacrament, as with all the others, man must 
co-operate by his acts. Carefulness in examination, 
confusion and sincerity in avowal, sorrow and firm 
purpose in repentance all these are required of the 
penitent. Our Lord exacts them as an essential condition 
for forgiveness. We must, therefore, fulfil our own part 
of the Sacrament with diligent care, but also with great 
discretion. 

Before confession we ought to strip ourselves of what 
is faulty in us by contrition, as Christ was stripped before 
the scourging and crucifixion. And if Christ was stripped 
to be scourged, man ought to divest himself of all sinful 
affections, before confessing his sins. What an excellent 
reason this is for us to look sincerely into our conscience 
and then afterwards to confess our sins honestly to Christ s 
representative ! 

For the examination of conscience, St. Mechtilde 
recommended the practice of placing the Sacred Heart 
and its virtues before ourselves as a mirror. So in the 
mirror of the humility of Jesus man might consider 
carefully his own humility and see if he has not stained 

146 



THE SACRED HEART AND CONFESSION 147 

his soul by pride or haughtiness. In the mirror of the 
patience of the Sacred Heart man should test his own 
patience and see if he discover not some impatience in 
himself. In the mirror of the obedience of the Sacred 
Heart he should examine his conduct and see if he has 
not been disobedient. In the mirror of the love of the 
Sacred Heart he should ask himself what love he has had 
for His Superiors, and whether he has been peaceful with 
his equals and full of kindness to his inferiors. 

If in these, or other points, man finds some stain on 
his soul he must efface it with the application of the 
humanity of Christ; he must remember that Christ is 
our brother, and that in His tender goodness He forgives 
man his sins, as soon as they are acknowledged. 

Mechtilde added a recommendation which ought to 
be received gratefully by scrupulous souls. Man should 
be careful not to wash his stains with too much eagerness 
that is, without considering the divine goodness; for by 
effacing them too eagerly he might easily injure rather 
than heal, his soul. 

What a number of souls have been injured by their 
exaggerations ! Let them rather go to the Sacred Heart, 
source of all mercy, trusting in its loving kindness, for it is 
Jesus Himself who forgives sin when the priest pronounces 
the words of absolution. Mechtilde saw our Lord one 
day sitting at the right hand of the divine Majesty 
blotting out sins. As each Sister came with a contrite 
heart to confess her sins, our Lord enfolded each with 
His right arm and by His merits effaced her sins as 
though they had never existed. After having purified 
them in this manner He presented each to His heavenly 
Father, who looking lovingly on them said : " The right 
hand of My Just One has protected thee and obtained 
for thee a sincere reconciliation." 

It sometimes happens, however, that the most calm 
souls are disturbed in receiving the Sacrament of Penance. 



148 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

They think they are quite unable to discover the depths 
of malice and corruption of their fallen nature. Even the 
priest could not descend to the depths of the perversity 
of their hearts. In these distressing but sanctifying 
circumstances St. Mechtilde suggests the following 
practice: 

If a person having sincerely made her confession fears 
to have made a bad confession, and yet finds nothing on 
her conscience that she has not confessed, she must make 
to God a confession of praise; acknowledging the failings 
she perceives in herself and extolling by her praises His 
divinity; she will confess how guilty she has been in not 
having shown to our Lord sufficient respect, in having so 
often tarnished in herself the image of God, in having 
filled her memory with worldly and useless things, in 
having used her mind to gain worldly knowledge, and in 
having taken pleasure in what was vile and fleeting. 

In the same way, after having extolled the clear 
sightedness of the divine eyes, she will mourn for having 
cared too much for earthly things, for having abused the 
use of her senses, and for not having profited by her 
knowledge of God. 

Also, having praised the mercy of the divine ears, she 
will accuse herself of not having listened as she ought 
to the word of God, and of not having condescended to 
listen to others. 

How many sins are committed by the tongue, by 
murmuring, by vain and useless words; by silence when 
God or His doctrine ought to have been spoken of; by 
silence at the time of prayer or praise. 

And how often has the soul impatiently shaken off 
the yoke she had accepted at Baptism, because things 
were not to her liking ! She has been either unwilling 
to carry it, or has carried it against the grain. And the 
yoke of religion which, in the presence of the Saints, she 
has received at her profession, promising to belong 



THE SACRED HEART AND CONFESSION 149 

entirely to God, how often has she not broken it by 
refusing to obey ! 

In remembering with what cruelty Jesus Christ was 
scourged, she recognizes that her fault lies in not chas 
tising her body, but in flattering it in its softness and in 
delicately nourishing it. 

She has also sinned before the divine Heart in not 
loving God with her whole heart, in not meditating on 
the law of God, thinking rather of useless things. She 
has sinned with her hands in doing wrong, in avoiding 
good works, especially those of mercy and charity done in 
common. She has also soiled her feet spiritually that is, 
her affections when she has turned them from God and 
has not directed her aspirations towards Him and heavenly 
things with her whole heart. 

The voice of our conscience may multiply its accusations 
and reproaches, the Angels and Saints themselves may 
witness against us, but let us listen to the voice of Jesus, 
more powerful than the voice of our iniquities : " O my 
Father, I will answer for all that is brought against 
each one of them, for My Heart is pierced for love of 
them." 

What has attracted Thee, O Jesus ? " My own free 
choice; I chose them for My own, from all eternity." 

So, with the same confidence as St. Mechtilde, relying 
on such a surety, let us take our crucifix into our hands 
saying to God the Father: 

" I offer Thee, O adorable Father, Thy very humble 
Son, who has paid all the debts I have contracted by my 
pride. I offer Thee Thy most meek Son who has sacrificed 
for all the sins I have committed by anger. I also offer 
Thee Thy most amiable Son and the love of His Heart, 
which has fully satisfied for all my failings. His boundless 
liberality has, in advance, paid for all my sins. His holy 
zeal has supplied for my cowardice. His perfect absti 
nence has atoned for my intemperance. The purity of 



150 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

His innocent life has obtained pardon for all the evil 
I have committed in thought, word, or deed. His perfect 
obedience, which made Him obedient unto death, has 
blotted out my disobediences, and His perfection has 
atoned for my imperfection." 






CHAPTER LII 
ON PURITT OF CONSCIENCE 

THE holiest souls are often saddened by their 
failings, and sometimes their faults, though 
slight, become for them an obstacle to frequent 
Communion. They dare not receive our Lord ! What 
is to be done ? 

One day Mechtilde wanted to go to confession; but 
there was no confessor, so she was much grieved, as she 
could not receive Holy Communion. 

She therefore began to pray. She accused herself 
bitterly of all her sins to God the High Priest, of her 
negligences, and of all her faults, and He assured her that 
her sins were forgiven. Returning thanks at once for 
this great favour, she said to our Lord: " O my sweet 
Saviour, what has now become of all my sins ?" He 
replied : " When a powerful King comes to stay in a house, 
it is at once cleaned so that nothing should offend his eyes, 
but if he is so near that there is no time to carry away the 
dirt it is carefully hidden in a corner to be afterwards 
thrown away. In the same way, if thou hast the will to 
confess thy sins and a firm purpose not to commit them 
again, they are completely blotted out, and I will re 
member them no more, but thou must remember them 
in the confessional. The will and desire which thou hast 
to avoid sin with all thy strength and power are bonds 
which attach and unite Me to thee so that nothing 
could ever separate us." 

Jesus had spoken and yet Mechtilde hesitated. This 
is what so often happens to timorous souls who dare not 
advance even at the priest s word. Many different 
reasons caused her to hesitate. She thought herself 



152 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

unworthy to partake of the banquet of the King of Angels ; 
she felt it impossible to receive so magnificent a gift 
without preparation and confession. On the other hand, 
our Lord had suggested thoughts of hope and consolation. 

Our Lord spoke again. " Reflect," He said, " on this. 
Every desire that a soul has ever had to possess Me is 
inspired by Me; it is like the Holy Scriptures and the 
words of the Saints which proceed, and shall ever proceed, 
from My Spirit." 

She therefore felt more confidence, and her heart was 
filled with so much courage that henceforth nothing 
seemed capable of thwarting her desire. 

She approached the heavenly banquet of the Body and 
Blood of Christ. Then she heard our Lord Himself 
say to her: " Wouldst thou know how I am in thy heart ?" 
And at once she saw a dazzling brightness like the rays 
of the sun streaming from her person, and by that she 
understood the working of divine grace in her soul and 
a sure mark of God s love for her. 

Sin must therefore be washed away in the Sacrament 
of Penance. Our Lord has decreed that all mortal sins 
shall be so absolved. This is not necessary in the 
case of lighter sins, our daily failings; for these love 
suffices. 

Once Mechtilde saw some sinners present themselves 
before our Lord. They carried their sins on their 
shoulders and then laid them at His feet. Their sins 
were then changed into golden jewels, because their 
sorrow was more actuated by the love of God than by 
fear of punishment. Those sins, carried with repentance 
to the feet of our Lord, had for Him the same value as 
the perfume of St. Mary Magdalene, patron of penitents. 
Our Lord said: " What shall we do with these faults and 
these presents ? Let them be burned in the fire of love." 
His visus dominus : quid de hisfaciemus ? Utroque in amore 
omnia concrementur Lord, open for me the furnace 



ON PURHT OF CONSCIENCE 153 

of Thy Heart and cause all my iniquities to be burned 
therein. " 

One Sunday, while they were singing the Asperges, 
Mechtilde said to our Lord: " My Lord, with what wilt 
Thou now wash and purify my heart ?" Then our Lord 
with inexpressible love leaned over her, as a mother over 
her son, took her into His arms, and said : " I will wash thee 
with the love of My divine Heart " In amore divini 
cordis mei te lavdbo. He then opened His Heart, treasury 
of divine mercy, and she saw therein a river of flowing 
water; it was the river of love, Her soul plunged into it, 
and at once was cleansed from all its stains. 

But how are we to obtain that this living water of the 
Sacred Heart should reach our souls ? By acts of love. 

One day, Mechtilde saw flowing, with much force, 
a swift and pure stream from the divine Heart, It was 
going to purify from all their sins the souls who had 
prayed for her through charity, and our Lord said to her : 
"Acts of charity cleanse men from venial sin; but sin 
clings to the soul like pitch ; it ought, therefore, often to 
be cleansed away by confession and great contrition. I 
guard in My Heart all works of chanty as a most precious 
treasure. I wait until he who has performed them comes 
to Me, and then I return them to him to augment his 
merit and graces." 



CHAPTER LIII 
THE SACRED HEART AND HOLT MASS 

f AHE thrice holy Sacrifice of the Cross is renewed 
on our Altars. Holy souls devoted to the Sacred 

"* Heart know how to find there the drops of blood 
fallen from this fountain during the Passion. They here 
offer to the infinite majesty of God all the adoration, 
annihilation and satisfaction of the Sacred Heart. The 
Heart of Jesus is the centre of the Sacrifice of the Mass. 
From this Heart all flows for God and for man. Mechtilde 
was allowed to contemplate the grandeur of this mystery. 

During Holy Mass she once saw the Heart of Jesus 
Christ under the appearance of a lamp. It was as brilliant 
and transparent as a living flame. From this divine 
Heart overflowed on all around floods of sweetness, which 
filled the hearts of all who assisted at Mass. The flame 
signified the fire of divine love which burnt in the Heart 
of Christ when He offered Himself to God the Father 
on the altar of the Cross. The sweetness which over 
flowed signified the innumerable blessings and immeasur 
able happiness which He has bestowed on us through His 
divine Heart. In it we possess all that is necessary for 
salvation, praise and thanksgiving, as well as prayer, love, 
desire, satisfaction and reparation for all our negligences. 

Our Divine Lord said to His servant: "At the Mass 
offer thy heart to God, and before beginning thy prayer 
purify and detach it from all terrestrial thoughts, so 
preparing it to receive the inflowing of divine love which 
inundates and fills the hearts of those who assist. I 
also deliver Myself entirely, with all I possess, into the 
power of thy soul, and in that way thou canst dispose of 
Me as thou wilt." 



THE SACRED HE AM AND HOLT MASS 155 

One day when she was troubled with distractions and 
hindered from uniting herself to God during Mass, she 
begged our Blessed Lady to obtain for her the presence 
of her well-beloved Son. Through the intercession of 
the divine mediatrix between God and man she again 
saw Jesus on the Altar. She saw Him seated on a raised 
throne, clear as crystal. In front of this throne sprang 
two beautifully clear streams, one signifying the remission 
of sins, and the other spiritual consolation. These are 
the gifts given more especially and abundantly during 
Mass by divine providence. At the oblation of the 
Sacred Host our Lord, who is Himself this divine throne, 
seemed to elevate with His own hands his sweet Heart 
as a lamp which shone and was filled to overflowing. 
The divine oil overflowed on all sides so that it splashed 
up in large drops, and yet what had overflowed had not 
lessened what the lamp contained. From which we may 
understand that all receive of the abundance of our 
Lord s Heart, each one according to his capacity, but that 
He loses nothing of the superabundance of His beatitude 
nor does it suffer the smallest diminution. 

O marvellous treasury, never-failing source of blessings, 
what folly in man to neglect to avail himself of it ! But 
in order to participate therein we must bring the neces 
sary dispositions. 

One day that Mechtilde was going to assist at Mass 
she saw our Lord coming from heaven clothed in white. 
He said to her: " When men go to Church they should 
prepare themselves by penance, striking their breast and 
confessing their sins. They may then approach My 
dazzling purity. This is what is signified by My white 
clothing." 

During the Holy Sacrifice the Sacred Heart is therefore 
an open treasury from which we may take all we need. 
But what are we to think of the Sacred Heart ? With 
what dispositions is it offered on the altar by the hands 



156 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

of its^humble minister? Who could tell, O Jesus, 
unless Thou didst Thyself reveal it ? 

Our Lord offers Himself to us during Mass with seven 
different dispositions. In the first, He comes with such 
humility that none is too lowly or vile for His conde 
scension, if desirous of receiving Him. In the second, 
He comes with such patience as to endure any enemy or 
sinner and, if the sinner wished it, He would forgive him 
all his sins. In the third, He comes with such love as 
to inflame the coldest and hardest-hearted worshipper 
with His love and touch his heart, if it have in it any 
lingering spark of desire. In the fourth, He comes with 
such generosity as to enrich the poorest person present. 
In the fifth, He offers Himself to all as a sweet and 
satisfying food, so that there is no one so ill or so hungry 
as cannot be restored or fully satiated by Him. In 
the sixth, He comes with such light as to illumine the 
most blind or darkened mind with His presence. In the 
seventh, He comes with such sanctity and grace as to 
help the most cowardly and distracted to shake off his 
torpor, and stir him to devotion. 

And we who go before this God to receive Holy Com 
munion, with what dispositions should we present our 
selves to receive Him ? 

" While they sing the Sanctus" our Lord tells us, " let 
each one say a Pater, and beg of Me to prepare him, in 
giving him the all-powerful, wise and sweet love of My 
Heart, that he may receive Me worthily into his heart 
so that I may work and effect therein, according to 
My will, what I had resolved and ordained from all 
eternity." 

And what should be our thanksgiving? During the 
Communion this verse may be recited: 

" I praise Thee, O love so strong ! 
I bless Thee, O love so wise ! 
I glorify Thee, O love so sweet!" 



THE SACRED HEART AND HOLT MASS 157 

" I exalt Thee, O love full of goodness, in all the works, 
and for all the good that Thy glorious divinity and 
blessed humanity have deigned to operate by Thy most 
holy Heart, and that it will continue to operate to all 
eternity. 

" At the priest s benediction I will bless thee thus : 
* May My power bless thee, may My wisdom instruct 
thee, may My sweetness fill thee, and may My goodness 
draw thee and unite thee to Me, for ever. Amen. " 

Illness sometimes prevents Christians from going to 
the church. Mechtilde had also to bear this trial; she 
groaned and complained to our Lord at being thus put 
aside. Our Lord consoled her thus: "There where 
thou art, I am also." 

She asked if she did not lose much in hearing Mass 
from so great a distance. Our Lord said to her: " It is 
good to be present, but, when impossible, and when 
illness, obedience, or any other legitimate reason prevents, 
then, where thou art, I am also present," 

Mechtilde then said: "O Lord, give now to my soul 
some spiritual consolation drawn from the words of the 
Mass." Our Lord replied: "At this moment they are 
singing the Agnus Dei three times, At the first, offer 
Me to God the Father with all My humility and patience 
for thyself: at the second, offer Me and all the bitterness 
of My Passion in order to obtain perfect forgiveness of 
thy sins : at the third, offer Me with all the love of My 
Heart to supply for all that man cannot do." Our Lord 
added: " Verily, to him who with zeal and devotion hears 
Mass, I will send at his last hour as many of the greatest 
Saints a s he has heard Masses to console, defend, and form 
a guard of honour to him." 

The Saints have rejoiced so much at the Masses said 
in their honour, that, intoxicated with joy in the Sacred 
Heart, they have appeared to the dying man as much to 
thank him as to help him. May the poor sick accept 



158 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

this sweet consolation from the Sacred Heart ! It is 
with you where you are. But, even so, when you hear 
the tinkle of the bell which foretells the coming of Jesus 
on our altars, offer Him three times, as He Himself asks. 

But all you who have strength and leisure, assist 
every day at Holy Mass, so as to increase the number 
of Saints who shall assemble to help you at the hour of 
your death, according to the promise of the Sacred Heart. 

Even here below we receive numberless graces through 
the Sacred Heart immolated on our altars. Mechtilde 
saw the Sacred Heart under the form of a lamp, which 
overflowed all around, but she also saw the hearts of 
those who assisted at Mass and her own, under the appear 
ance of lamps united by mysterious bonds to the Heart 
of Jesus. Some were upright, full of oil, and seemed 
alight, others were empty and seemed overturned. By 
the upright, well-lighted lamps were designated the 
hearts of those who assisted at Mass with fervour and 
devotion. The empty, overturned lamps represented the 
hearts of those who were negligent and did not attempt 
to stir up their devotion. 



CHAPTER LIV 
INVITATION TO HOLT COMMUNION 

THE most perfect union with our Lord is effected 
by the reception of His most holy Body and Blood 
in Holy Communion. 

There, as at no other time, meet the Heart of Jesus 
and the heart of His disciple. It is, therefore, the most 
suitable time for pouring out our love and assuring Him 
of our irrevocable fidelity. A fervent soul longs eagerly 
for this happy time. And our Lord tells us that one of 
the greatest desires of His Heart desiderio desideravi 
is to eat this mysterious Pasch with us. This is the reason 
why He grieves when, through negligence, tepidity, or 
human respect, He sees us abstain from Holy Communion. 

" My well-beloved," He said one day to a soul guilty 
of this neglect, " why dost thou fly from Me ?" Mechtilde 
was astonished that our Lord spoke to this person with 
so much tenderness; but He said to her: " I will call her 
my well-beloved all the days of her life." " But after 
her death," asked St. Mechtilde, " will she be deprived 
of so tender a name?" Our Lord replied: " She will 
keep it for all eternity." 

And speaking again to a timid soul, He said: " Draw 
near, with confidence, to the omnipotence of the Father, 
that He may strengthen thee; to the wisdom of the Son, 
that He may enlighten thee; and to the love of the Holy 
Ghost, that He may fill thee with His sweetness." 

Again, another soul dared not approach the most Holy 
Communion, fearing she was not worthy. " Let her 
receive Me frequently," said our Lord; " every time 
she comes I will receive her as My legitimate queen." 

Who could resist so sweet an invitation ? Jesus treats 
our souls as His well-beloved, as His queen. And yet, 
59 



160 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

how many still hesitate ! Holy Communion is fre 
quented, but often only at long intervals. 

Mechtilde prayed for one of those souls who feared to 
communicate often. Our Lord said to her: " The more 
often a soul communicates, the purer it becomes, as we 
become cleaner if we wash often. The more often a soul 
communicates, the more I operate in it; and the more it 
works with Me, its actions become more holy. The more 
often a soul communicates, the more profoundly does it 
dwell in Me; and the more it penetrates into the abyss of 
My divinity, the more is that soul dilated and capable of 
containing the divinity. In the same way water falling 
on a certain spot of stone at length wears a cavity to fill," 

This marvellous immersion operated by Holy Com 
munion is explained by our Lord in another way. One 
day after she had received Holy Communion He said 
to St. Mechtilde: "I am in thee and thou art in 
Me by My power, as a fish in the water." Mechtilde 
felt obliged to say: " But, Lord, the fish are sometimes 
drawn by nets out of the water; what if the same happened 
to me ?" Our Lord calmed this fear : " No one could draw 
thee away from Me," He said; " thou shalt make thy 
nest in My divine Heart." " My nest in Thy divine 
Heart, O Jesus : of what shall this nest be made ?" " It 
shall be formed of humility amidst the gifts and graces 
which I have conferred on thee. Cast thyself into the 
abyss of a profound humility." " O Lord, fish grow in 
the water, but shall I bear fruit in Thy divine Heart ?" 
" Yes, and such abundant fruit that all heaven will 
rejoice. When thou shalt offer Me to God the Father 
for the joy and glory of the Saints, their happiness and 
recompense shall be increased, as though they had 
received Me corporally on the earth." 

Who would "not by Holy Communion build his nest 
in the Heart of Jesus and in that way increase the joy of 
the Angels and Saints ? 



CHAPTER LV 
PREPARATION FOR HOLT COMMUNION 

WE must prepare carefully for Holy Communion. 
The Apostle says : " Let a man prove himself, 
and then eat of this Bread and drink of this 
Chalice." 

The preparation must be thorough, worthy of the 
Guest we are going to receive, but regulated by pru 
dence and kept within the rules of discretion, otherwise 
too much solicitude about preparation might prevent 
us going to Holy Communion. Exaggeration, on this 
head, was the infernal means by which Jansenism tried 
to prevent frequent Communion. 

Our Lord gave St. Mechtilde some delightful instruc 
tions for our edification. One day when she ought to 
have received Holy Communion and thought herself 
unfit through want of preparation, our Lord said to her: 
" I give Myself entirely to thee, to be Myself thy prepara 
tion." And He placed His Heart on that of St. Mechtilde 
and laid His Head on her head. She then said: "O 
Lord, enlighten the face of my soul with the brightness 
of Thy countenance." Our Lord replied: " The face 
of thy soul is the image of the Holy Trinity. The soul 
should see this image reflected in My face as in a mirror, 
and see whether he finds some stain in that image." 

Mechtilde understood that we should often contem 
plate bur soul in this divine Mirror, the face of Jesus 
Christ, so as to discover any stains that might disfigure 
it, and wash them away before Holy Communion. Purity 
of conscience, then, is the first preparation, but the Sacred 
Heart expects more. 

He gives a second lesson. " O loving Lord," said 
161 ii 



1 62 THE LOVE OF THE S4CRED HEART 

Mechtilde, " teach me how to prepare for the royal 
banquet of Thy adorable Body and Blood." Our Lord 
answered: " What did My disciples do when I sent them 
before Me to prepare the Pasch which I was to eat with 
them the night before my Passion ? They prepared a 
large and well-furnished hall." 

By this our Lord wishes us to remember that with 
repentance He desires confidence confidence in His 
immense bounty and liberality in lovingly receiving those 
who go to Him. We must have confidence in His 
clemency, for He will receive us kindly as a mother, 
guarding us from all evil; confidence in His love, which 
offers a sure welcome to all who communicate, enriching 
them with His best gifts ; confidence in His tenderness, 
which will bestow on them faith and hope to obtain all 
that is necessary for salvation. 

To this unlimited confidence we must join the remem 
brance of the Passion. St. Mechtilde always observed 
this, our Lord having said: " Do this in memory of Me " 
(Luke xxi. 9). The Holy Ghost deigned to comment on 
the words: " Do this in memory of Me." 

There are three things we should remember in receiving 
the Body of Christ. The first is the eternal love of the 
Father, which caused Him to love us before we were 
made, though He knew well all our defects and wicked 
ness, despite which He created us to His own image and 
likeness, and for this we should thank Him. The second 
is the marvellous love which caused the Son of God, 
though He abounded with delight in the bosom of the 
Father, to come down on the earth. He left His infinite 
majesty and descended to our misery, to us captives in 
the bonds of Adam. Hunger, cold, heat, weariness, 
sadness, contempt, suffering and the most ignominious 
death, He bore with a divine patience, so as to deliver 
us from our miseries. The third is the unheard-of love 
with which He always watches over us, taking care of us 



PREPARATION FOR HOLT COMMUNION 163 

in His paternal tenderness. So, after being our Creator 
and Redeemer, as a loving brother He intercedes always 
for us with the Father, regulates and directs our concerns 
as an attendant and faithful servant. 

These three things we should always bear in remem 
brance, but especially when partaking of the celestial 
banquet, the heavenly legacy of the love of Jesus, of which 
we should always keep before us the remembrance. 

Our Lord also deigned Himself to teach us the intention 
we should have in receiving Holy Communion. 

It was the custom in the Community to indicate by a 
tablet that they intended to communicate, and this 
tablet bore the name of the Religious. In writing it 
Mechtilde said: "Write, dear Lord, my name on Thy 
Heart and inscribe also Thy sweet Name on my heart by 
a perpetual remembrance." Our Lord then said to her 
one day: "When thou wilt communicate, receive Me 
with an intention as strong as if thou hadst all the desires 
and all the love which ever filled a human heart. Filled 
with the strongest love that the heart of man can contain, 
come to Me. I will then receive this love from thee, 
not such as it really is in thee, but such as thou wouldst 
wish it to be." 

So our Lord was faithful to His promise: " I will give 
Myself entirely to thee to be thy preparation." 



CHAPTER LVI 

THE FIFE HAIL MARTS BEFORE HOLT 
COMMUNION 

ST. MECHTILDE S pious custom was to recite 
five Hail Marys before receiving Holy Com 
munion, and these were her intentions: 

At the first Hail Mary, she reminded our Lady of the 
solemn hour when she conceived a Son in her virginal 
womb, at the word of the Angel, and drew Him to her 
from heaven by her profound humility. She asked her 
to obtain for her a pure conscience and profound humility. 

At the second Hail Mary, she reminded her of the 
happy moment when she took Jesus for the first time into 
her arms and first saw Him in His Sacred Humanity. 
She prayed Mary to obtain for her a true knowledge of 
herself. 

At the third Hail Mary, she begged our Lady to 
remember that she had always been prepared to receive 
grace and had never placed any obstacle to its operation. 
She begged Mary to obtain for her a heart always ready 
to receive divine grace. 

At the fourth Hail Mary, she reminded our Lady with 
what devotion and gratitude she received on earth the 
body of her well-beloved Son, knowing better than 
anyone the salvation to be found there by mankind. 
Mechtilde begged her to obtain that her heart might be 
filled with worthy feelings of gratitude. If men knew 
the blessings which flow for them from the body of Jesus 
Christ, they would faint with joy. 

At the fifth Hail Mary, she reminded our Lady of the 
reception given to her by her divine Son when He 
invited her to take her place near Him in heaven in the 
midst of transports of joy. 

164 



CHAPTER LVII 

OF DRTNESS IN RECEIVING HOLT 
COMMUNION 

ONE of the greatest trials of a pious soul is to feel 
nothing but dryness and desolation when Jesus 
enters their heart. If it were only a matter of 
sorrow and complaint, it would not be so serious, but 
alas ! it is often made a pretext for abstaining from Holy 
Communion. 

Our Lord gives this instruction to them for their con 
solation : " When thou art preparing for Holy Communion 
and only feelest thy heart dry, with no desire nor love 
for prayer nor any of the love thou oughtest to have, 
cry with all thy strength to the Lord: * Draw us, and we 
will run after Thee to the odour of Thy ointments. 
And in saying this word c Draw us, think how strong and 
powerful was the love which drew the almighty and 
eternal God down to the ignominious death of the Cross. 
Filled with an ardent desire for Him who said * When 
I shall be lifted up from the earth I will draw all things 
unto Myself, beg of Him that He would draw thy heart 
and all the powers of thy soul so strongly to Himself that 
He will cause thee to run with love and desire in the odour 
of the three perfumes which come from the very noble 
reservoir of My Heart with so great an abundance that 
they fill heaven and earth. 

" Trie first perfume is the living water which divine 
love distilled from the noble rose of the divine Heart 
in the furnace of charity. With this perfume wash the 
face of thy soul. If after a serious examination thou 
dost find any stain of sin, beg that it may be cleansed in 
the fountain of mercy which bathed the thief on the cross. 

165 



1 66 THE LOVE OF THE SACRED HEART 

" The second perfume is the generous wine of the 
Precious Blood of the Crucified which issued with water 
from the wound of His Sacred Heart. Beg that the face 
of thy soul may be tinged with it, so as to be worthy to 
take a place at so great a banquet. 

" The third perfume is the marvellous meekness which 
overflows from the divine Heart. This meekness, which 
the bitterness of death could not exhaust, is a perfume 
of balsam which surpasses every aromatic perfume and 
is a remedy for every infirmity of soul. Beg that this 
perfume may be poured into thy soul so that it may taste 
and see that the Lord is sweet. It will be nourished by 
this sweetness, it will expand and enter entirely into Him 
who has given Himself to thee with so much love. 

" When thou shalt feel none of this sweetness of which 
we have been speaking, beg of thy Sweet and faithful 
Jesus, who loves thee, to draw it from Himself; beg that 
what is insipid in thee may partake of His savour, that 
thy tepidity may gain fervour from Him; and that He 
alone may be glorified in all thy works, now and for ever." 

So, with us too, O Sacred Heart, either Thy perfumes 
will bestow on us the sweetness of Thy fervour, or our 
dryness fill Thee with joy. But we will continue always 
to go to Thee. 



CHAPTER LVIII 
THE FRUIT OF HOLT COMMUNION 

ST. BENEDICT S holy daughter is never tired of 
presenting the Sacred Heart to us as the source 
of all good, all happiness, and every virtue. 

Its influence on souls is increasing, but it is never 
more powerful than after Holy Communion. Then our 
Lord not only gives graces, but Himself; and He gives 
Himself that He may be everything to the soul in its 
needs. If we are weak, He rests in our breast as a shield, 
to be our defence and strength against our enemies. If 
we aspire to practise virtue, He comes to communicate 
to us His own. 

In this manner St. Mechtilde saw Him give Himself 
one Good Friday to the Religious as buried in aromatic 
perfumes of delicious odour. The aromatic perfume 
came from all parts of His Sacred Heart and blossomed 
like flowers, so that this divine Heart was like a mass of 
flowers. But how is this marvellous union accomplished ? 

The Holy Fathers employ two comparisons, which our 
Lord Himself made use of in instructing His servant. 
At the moment of communicating He said to her: " Wilt 
thou now see how I am in thee and thou art in Me ?" 
In her humility she kept silence, but, at once, she saw our 
Lord as a transparent crystal, and her own soul as most 
pure a nd shining water flowing throughout the Body of 
Christ. 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem says that those who communicate 
are so intimately united to Jesus Christ that they have 
with Him but one body and soul. This wonderful 
union is expressed again, but with more theological 

167 



1 68 THE LOFE OF THE SACRED HEART 

exactitude. "Behold," said St. Mechtilde, "whilst 
assisting at Mass Thou art wholly in the hands of the 
priest and yet art wholly in me." Our Lord answered: 
" Is not thy soul in all the different parts of thy body ? 
If thy soul, a simple creature, has this privilege, why 
should not I, the Creator of all things, be in all My crea 
tures and everywhere ?" 

He then caused her to rest on His Heart and said to 
her: " Receive My divine Heart entirely." And Mech 
tilde felt the divinity dart through her like an impetuous 
torrent. 

But what is of more importance than knowing how this 
union is effected is to understand the fruits it ought 
to produce in us, and the obligation under which we lie, 
with God s help, of showing them in our lives. 

Mechtilde had another day received the Sacred Body 
of Jesus. After sweet colloquies with Him, it seemed to 
her that our Lord took her heart and placed it in His 
divine Heart, so that the two made only one. He then 
said: " It is in this manner that I wished the heart of 
man to be united to Me in its desires, so that all its move 
ments might be regulated by My Heart, as two winds 
blowing together make only one draught. 

" This being so, man ought to unite himself to Me in 
all his actions. If, for example, he wishes to eat or to 
sleep, he should say: * Lord, in union with the love which 
caused Thee to make this food or this rest for me, I take 
this for Thy eternal praise and for the needs of my body. 
In the same way when some work is commanded Him, 
he should say: Lord, in union with the love which made 
Thee work with Thy hands, and causes Thee still to work 
unceasingly in my soul, in union with the love which lays 
this task on me, I wish to acquit myself of it for Thy glory 
and for the interests of all, for Thou hast said: "Without 
Me thou canst do nothing." I pray of Thee to unite 
it to Thee and to perfect it as Thy works are perfect, that 



THE FRUIT OF HOLT COMMUNION 169 

it may be as a drop of water fallen into a great river, 
which has no other movement than that of the river." 

" The union must also be one of will, so that all may 
be accepted as My will in adversity as in prosperity. As 
two precious metals melted become one and can no more 
be separated, so man by love becomes one mind with Me, 
and this is the greatest perfection and the highest sanctity 
in this life." 



Printed in England 



Jl 



MECHTILDE, St. BQT 

The Love of the Sacred ri eart. 2591